Poland, Baltics to close Belarus border in event of 'critical incident'

Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Poland will close its border with Belarus if a “critical incident” occurs even on the Belarusian border with Lithuania and Latvia, the Polish interior minister said on Monday.

Mariusz Kaminski made the statement following talks with his Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian counterparts in Warsaw.

He said any "critical incident" would prompt immediate retaliation by shutting all border crossings to both people and goods.

"All border crossing will be closed," he said. "We have worked out a mechanism of permanent consultation. We have set up a working group which will monitor the situation on our borders 24 hours a day and, if necessary, we will immediately carry out an assessment and take appropriate action."

Kaminski also claimed that the regime of Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian president, was getting rich and benefiting from the transit of goods through the country.

He added that Poland was developing strategies to help members of Belarus's opposition to escape the country, if the borders are closed.

"We are in contact with the Belarusian opposition," Kaminski continued. "We are in contact with the winner of the 2020 election, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, and we are developing a mechanism, channels, so that everyone who is threatened with repression in Belarus in the event of all border crossings being closed can safely reach all crossings into our country.

"We are not forgetting about the Belarusian nation, about ordinary Belarusians," he said. "We are not forgetting opposition members."

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