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Poland, Baltic states threaten to close borders with Belarus

by Abbey Fenbert August 29, 2023 5:50 AM 2 min read
Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski at a meeting with representatives from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia in Warsaw on Aug. 28. (Photo via Polish Internal Affairs Ministry)
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Poland and the Baltic nations of Latvia and Lithuania have promised to shut down their borders with Belarus if a "critical situation" occurs, Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said at a summit in Warsaw on Aug. 28.

"We are determined on joint action if a critical situation arises," Kaminski said. "Regardless of whether it is on the Polish, Lithuanian, or Latvian borders, we will apply immediate retaliation. All border crossings that are open so far, both passenger and cargo, will be closed."

The interior ministers of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia met in Warsaw on Aug. 28 to discuss regional security issues.

At the beginning of August, Polish officials warned that full closure of the Belarusian border was possible in light of increased Wagner mercenary activity in the area.

On Aug. 27, a Russian investigation confirmed the death of Wagner commander Yvgeny Prigozhin in a plane crash. Despite reports that Wagner soldiers were leaving Belarus in large numbers following the crash, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko claimed that Wagner would continue to maintain a strong presence in the country.

"We demanded of the Lukashenko regime that the Wagner Group immediately leave the territory of Belarus," Kaminski said.

He also said that the strategies discussed at the Aug. 28 meeting would "also apply to the border with Russia."

Poland and Lithuania share a formal border with Russia due to Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian Federation exclave disconnected from the mainland.

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