Kariņš to talk with Lithuanian, Polish prime ministers about Lukashenko's border provocation

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Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš said November 8 that Latvia would continue to defend its borders even as the regime of Belarusian dictator Aleksander Lukashenko intensifies its efforts to traffic hundreds of third-country nationals across the European Union's external border in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

Videos circulating on international media showed large numbers of people being herded towards the border by armed Belarusian personnel.  

"First of all I want to repeat that Latvia strongly condemns Belarus' hybrid operation against the European Union, organizing and sending third country citizens over the European Union border," Kariņš said after a meeting of the coalition cooperation council Monday.

"We follow carefully what happened today at the Belarus-Poland border and this evening after this press conference I will be having dicussions with both the Polish and Lithuanian prime ministers," he told journalists in an online press conference.

"Latvia's border continues to be reinforced with a round-the-clock regime and of course our border guards national guard and police officers have a high level of professionalism, experience and expertise and we are ready to offer support in all cases. But out border is closely monitored and we strongly condemn what the Belarus regime is doing at the moment against the whole European Union."

Earlier on Monday, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs called for the EU to speed up its response to the crisis and introduce additional sanctions.

A large number of videos have been circulating on social media showing columns of apparent migrants being herded towards the border, and a Polish Defense Ministry video showed masked people on the Belarusian side of the border trying to cut through barbed wire with wire cutters.

Late Monday night President Egils Levits added that he had spoken with his Polish counterpart about the matter and also said sanctions against airlines and airports should be considered.


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