Belarus will “hit back hard” with any attack. Defense Minister Viktor Khrenine said this after the major mobilization of Polish troops on the border with his country.
“It seems that our neighbors from the West – Poland in particular – are ready to unleash a conflict in which they would like to drag Europe down,” Khrenine said in a video message. “The armed forces of Belarus are ready to retaliate against any attack,” he assured.
Poland has posted some 15,000 soldiers on its eastern borders to protect the country from “a hybrid attack,” the defense ministry in Warsaw tweeted. By this, the ministry is referring to Belarus’ attempts to orchestrate a migration crisis at the border.
Poland and the EU accuse the regime of Alexandr Lukashenko of bringing migrants to Belarus and then pushing them towards the border. At the beginning of this week, the situation escalated as large groups of migrants moved towards the border. Poland prevents them from crossing the border, leaving thousands of people trapped in the border area.
Meanwhile, the EU is preparing new sanctions against Belarus. “Efforts to intimidate or accuse us without merit force us to respond appropriately to this situation,” Khrenine warned. He assured that the army is able to “ensure the security of the country, if necessary with our main strategic ally Russia”.
NATO also expressed solidarity with Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia in a statement from the ambassadors of the 30 member states on Friday and condemned Belarus’ “continuous instrumentalization” of illegal migration.