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Latvian National Security Council convenes to address situation at Russian, Belarusian border

by Martin Fornusek August 17, 2023 2:26 PM 2 min read
"Stop - state border" written in three languages on the Latvian-Belarusian border near Kaplava, Latvia, Nov. 17, 2021. (Photo credit: Alexander Welscher/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics announced on Aug. 17 that he had called a National Security Council meeting to discuss the situation at the border with Russia and Belarus.

In particular, the Council is to address issues such as the Wagner Group presence in Belarus and Minsk's hybrid warfare attempts, the president wrote on Twitter.

The tensions at Belarus' borders with Poland and the Baltic countries have been mounting since 2021 when Minsk engineered a migrant crisis. Riga recently moved to deploy its military at the border after almost 100 illegal migrants attempted to cross it within 24 hours.

Concerns among NATO's eastern members spiked again following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and more recently when fighters of the Russian Wagner Group began moving to Belarus following their short-lived rebellion against the Kremlin.

According to the Latvian news outlet Delfi, the country's security services uncovered attempts to attract new recruits to the Wagner Group in Latvia. Russians comprise the largest ethnic minority in the Baltic country, making up about a quarter of the population.

Last week, Minsk also launched military drills near its border with Poland and Lithuania, not far from the strategic strip of land known as the "Suwalki gap."

In response to the escalating tensions, countries at NATO's eastern flank began reinforcing their eastern borders and limiting the number of border crossings.

Lithuanian President, Polish PM meet to discuss Wagner threat
President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda announced on Aug. 3 that he met with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to discuss the presence of the Wagner Group in Belarus and the threats it poses.
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