Defense Minister: closing Belarus border must be joint Baltic decision

Any decision to close the border with Belarus must be uniform in all the Baltic States, otherwise, it will be possible to bypass the border, Defense Minister Ināra Murniece (National Alliance) said in an interview with Latvian Television on August 21.

Mūrniece said that the border should be closed for all Baltic States at the same time, because if one country acts separately, the border can be circumvented, and countries that have not closed the border will have to count on increased flows of migrants.

The issue of possible border closures will be discussed on August 28 by the Baltic interior ministers also in coordination with Poland, said Mūrniece.

The Minister confirmed that the hybrid threat on the border with Belarus was increasing while noting that the Ministry of Defense's response had been “very rapid”.

“We have tripled the support of the armed forces, a new flexible system has also been set up so that we can act quickly when necessary,” said Mūrniece. The number of soldiers and guardsmen at Latvia's eastern border has been increased, the minister said.

Similarly, the playing out of specific scenarios on the eastern side of the country is planned during the “Namejs” military exercises, but pre-training has already been carried out.

Mūrniece stressed that the tidying up of the eastern border infrastructure is urgent and needs to be done smoothly. The Minister believes that this issue has been overregulated and that new ways of should be sought. The Ministry of Defense and the National Armed Forces are prepared to offer their solutions.

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