Poland, Baltic states face same threats, says FM

Rau drew attention to the apparent threats posed by Zapad 2021, the large Russian-Belarusian military exercises now underway, and a migration crisis that the four states claim has been orchestrated by Belarus in an attempt to destabilise the EU. Toms Kalnins/PAP/EPA

Co-operation between Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is natural because they face the same challenges and threats, Zbigniew Rau, the Polish foreign minister, said on Monday after a meeting of the foreign and defence ministers from Poland and the Baltic states in Riga, the Latvian capital.

"Due to our geographical location and shared history, our assessment of the international situation is similar," Rau told a press conference held after the meeting.

"We're facing the same challenges and threats, so an attempt to develop a joint response to them is more than natural," Rau said.

Monday's talks focused on the security situation in the region and the four countries' response to military and hybrid operations carried out by Russia and Belarus.

Rau drew attention to the apparent threats posed by Zapad 2021, the large Russian-Belarusian military exercises now underway, and a migration crisis that the four states claim has been orchestrated by Belarus in an attempt to destabilise the EU.

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said the talks centred on security, especially in the context of the migration problems with Belarus and the Zapad 2021 manoeuvres.

He added that the ministers also discussed plans for a joint military exercise involving all four countries' armed forces.