Since mid-2021, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland have been facing a migration crisis caused and encouraged by the Belarusian regime following dictator Alexander Lukashenko's threat to flood the European Union with illegal migrants.
Latvija, Lietuva, Polija un Igaunija stingri iestājas pret mēģinājumiem destabilizēt situāciju reģionā, izmantojot cilvēku kontrabandu. Paturam iespēju solidāri vajadzības gadījumā slēgt robežu. Par to vienojāmies Baltijas valstu un Polijas iekšlietu ministru sanāksmē🇱🇻️🇱🇹️🇵🇱🇪🇪 pic.twitter.com/AWn8KXGHrZ— Maris Kucinskis (@MarisKucinskis) August 28, 2023
The meeting in Warsaw was attended by Latvian Minister of the Interior Māris Kučinskis, Polish Minister of the Interior and Administration Mariusz Kaminskis, Lithuanian Minister of the Interior Agne Bilotaite and Estonian Minister of the Interior Lauri Lānemets.
"During the meeting, it was emphasized that ensuring security at the European Union's external border with Russia and Belarus is one of the priorities of all four governments – cooperation between Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in this regard is important to us and will be further developed," said a release from the Latvian Interior Ministry.
"It was also pointed out that due to the decisive action of the governments of the region, the results of migration pressure have been effectively minimized – the situation on the border with Belarus and Russia is jointly monitored, in awareness that these two countries can organize border provocations. The [security] services of the countries of the region are also monitoring the activities of the so-called Wagner group on the territory of Belarus," it added.
"The war in Ukraine and the presence of the Wagner mercenary group in Belarus can be considered as additional risk conditions and a possible motivation for the Lukashenko regime to continue its efforts to destabilize the situation on the border, thus putting pressure on the EU and NATO," said Kučinskis.
A joint statement after the meeting emphasized that all four countries consider the actions taken by Russia, supported by Belarus, to be deliberate attempts to destabilize the situation in the region.
The statement also contains a call to the Belarusian regime to immediately order the Wagner group to leave its territory, as well as to immediately return illegal migrants in the border zone to their country of origin.
The full text of the joint statement is included below.
Taking due account of regional security concerns, the Ministers of Interior of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia met today, 28th August in Warsaw, to jointly assess the current situation in the field of security on the external EU border with Belarus and Russia.
Since mid-2021 the four States have been facing the unprecedented irregular migration pressure provoked and artificially sustained by the Belarusian regime, clearly supported by Russia. This hybrid attack preceded the start of hostilities against Ukraine. Currently, the artificial migration route through Belarus enables Russia to make further attempts to destabilize our societies and the whole European Union.
Due to the decisive actions of the Governments in the region, we have efficiently minimized the migratory pressure and protected the external EU border. We continue to jointly monitor the situation on the border with Belarus and Russia and remain aware that these two states can organize border provocations.
We underline that we consider the activities undertaken by Russia backed by Belarus as their intentional attempts to destabilize the situation in the region. We firmly declare that we will jointly stand against them. Our response will be united, determined and appropriate to the situation, with the possibility of further isolation of both regimes by closing border crossing points. We are determined to protect the borders of the democratic world, while maintaining the access to our territories for Belarusian oppositionists.
In this regard, we call upon Belarusian regime to remove the "Wagner" group from the Belarusian territories and withdraw all illegal migrants from the border areas and return them to their countries of origin.
We hereby reaffirm that ensuring security at the external border of the EU with Russia and Belarus is one of the top priorities of our Governments. We stress that the cooperation between Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in that regard is important for us and will be further developed.