Lithuanian, Polish ministers discuss security situation at border with Belarus

  • 2023-08-04
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – In response to Wagner mercenaries' relocation to Belarus, Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite and her Polish counterpart, Mariusz Kaminski, discussed the security situation at the border on Friday.

"The ministers discussed the current situation at the border with Belarus and the principles of permanent cooperation among Poland, Lithuania and the other Baltic states," the Lithuanian Interior Ministry said in a press release.   

Both Lithuania and Poland are considering closing checkpoints on their borders with Belarus.

Interior Vice Minister Arnoldas Abramavicius confirmed earlier on Friday that Lithuania would decide in the near future on the closure of two of its six border checkpoints with Belarus due to Wagner's presence in the neighboring country.

The authorities are considering closing the Sumskas and Tverecius border checkpoints, with the final decision on the matter to be made by the Cabinet.

Bilotaite and Kaminski agreed on a response to the current threats from Belarus and possible future provocations at the border, according to the ministry's press release.  

They also discussed a mechanism to be applied in case it becomes necessary to close all border checkpoints with Belarus.

"Both sides emphasized effective and strong cooperation between Poland and Lithuania in the field of security," the ministry said.

Saulius Nekrasevicius, deputy commander of the State Border Guard Service, told BNS earlier on Friday that the closure of some of the border checkpoints with Belarus would help reduce risks.  

President Gitanas Nauseda said during his visit to Poland's northeastern Suwalki Region on Thursday that that Vilnius, Warsaw and Riga had to be ready to close their borders with Belarus together if the security situation deteriorated because of the Wagner mercenaries.  

Polish officials have said the authorities are considering a complete closure of the border with Belarus.  

Nauseda and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in Suwalki Region on Thursday that there were currently about 4,000 Wagner mercenaries in Belarus. 

The Lithuanian president said some of them were close to the Lithuanian-Polish border, adding that the number of Wagner mercenaries in Belarus was not final, with the group planning to deploy up to 10,000 fighters there.