Business & Economy

Poland, Baltic states mull Belarus border closures amid Wagner threat

Berlin, Aug 28 (EFE).- Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia urged Belarus on Monday to expel the Russian Wagner mercenaries from its territory amid escalating security threats in the Baltic region.

Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński met with his counterparts from the Baltic states in Warsaw to discuss a possible complete closure of their borders with Belarus.

Addressing a joint press conference with the Baltic interior ministers, Kamiński said the presence of hundreds of Wagner mercenaries in Belarus and the growing influx of migrants at the Polish-Belarus border were a matter of concern.

He said the situation on the borders with Belarus brought the ministers together for the meeting.

“We demand that (the government of Alexander) Lukashenko immediately orders the withdrawal of the Wagner group from Belarus,” the Polish minister said.

He called for illegal migrants allegedly organized by the Belarusian security services to leave the border zone immediately and be deported to their countries of origin.

“This situation is escalating. For several months, we have been dealing with attempts by migrants to illegally cross.”

Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite said the four countries agreed on several specific criteria which, if met, “will lead to the total closure of the European Union’s border with Belarus.”

Bilotaite said the boundaries would close in the event of an armed incident on the borders of any state or if there was an organized mass attempt by irregular migrants to cross into any country.

She said her government was studying the possibility of closing two more border crossings with Belarus, at Lavoriškės and Raigardas.

Earlier this month, Lithuania closed two of six checkpoints at Šumskas and Tverečius due to the presence of Wagner mercenaries.

Poland currently keeps only one border crossing operational, while Latvia, the third EU country to share a border, has only two crossings open. EFE


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