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September 25 – October 1, 2023
Belarus-West relations

Neighboring countries continue to prepare for the complete closure of the border with Belarus

The situation got worse
Neighboring countries continue to prepare for the complete closure of the border with Belarus

Despite opportunities to de-escalate the situation, the regime persists in exerting migration pressure on the Baltic countries and Poland, both of which are gearing up for a full border closure. The regime calls on neighboring countries to engage in dialogue and even suggests joint exercises, including those related to migration issues. However, such proposals from Minsk consistently spark skepticism and mistrust.

After several weeks of relative calm, the number of illegal migrants crossing the Belarusian-European border has returned to its usual level, exceeding 200 cases per day. A sizable group of migrants armed with shovels attempted to find weak points in the physical barrier on the Belarusian-Polish border. Migrants also threw stones at Polish patrols.

In response to this, Latvia declared its readiness to completely close the border with Belarus in case of a migrant influx.

The Lithuanian National Security Commission has approved criteria for assessing the situation on the border with Belarus, which will also be applied to evaluate the Belarusian-Polish and Belarusian-Latvian borders. Based on this assessment, response measures will be proposed, potentially including border closure.

The security situation on the border with Belarus will be evaluated taking into account the following factors:

  • Emerging risks/threats of a military nature,
  • Activities of Belarusian intelligence services against Lithuania,
  • Information attacks (disinformation) against Lithuania,
  • Border incidents, etc.

The Lithuanian government will be presented with a range of measures based on this analysis, from restrictions on the movement of people, transport, or goods to a complete border closure. Earlier, the interior ministers of Poland and the Baltic countries agreed on a mechanism for closing the border with Belarus in the event of a critical incident. Such incidents might include the use of weapons on the border by one of the states posing a threat to national security or the organized movement of migrants across the border.

Lithuania also plans to close the gaps in the border fence along its borders with Belarus and Russia, particularly in swampy areas. Plans include the construction of barriers in such areas equipped with monitoring systems.

In this context, Minsk expresses its readiness to cooperate with the Polish military to ensure regional security, even suggesting joint military exercises. The regime sees potential in areas like border security, air defense as part of joint border protection, and countering cross-border threats, including biological and other emergency situations.

However, Poland does not take these proposals seriously in the current geopolitical climate.

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