NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday that the situation on the border between Poland and Belarus is “deeply worrying” and that the alliance is ready to help its allies.
Stoltenberg spoke out in Berlin, where he met with the outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the issue and other NATO member states.
Poland and the EU accuse the government of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of “turning into weapons” migrants, especially from Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan, by inviting them to enter Belarus and sometimes by force to the Polish Push the limit. Belarus denies the claim.
Polish troops have clashed with migrants on several occasions in the past few weeks while trying to penetrate the border. Polish security officials said up to 12,000 migrants could be encamped in Belarus near the Polish border.
Speaking to reporters, Stoltenberg said NATO was concerned not only about Poland’s border with Belarus, but also about the borders of NATO allies Lithuania and Latvia, which have also had problems with migrants, albeit not as much as Poland.
The NATO chief said the Lukashenko regime’s use of vulnerable people to put pressure on other countries was “cynical and inhuman”. He said NATO was in full solidarity with Poland and the other allies directly affected.
Stoltenberg noted some “steps in the right direction” as Iraq stopped and brought people back from Iraq to the Belarus-Poland border.
Stoltenberg also said NATO is watching with concern as Russia is building significant troops near the border with Ukraine and in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory of Crimea. He urged Russia “to be transparent about what it is doing. We call on Russia to de-escalate to prevent escalation and reduce tensions. ”
Some of the information for this report was obtained from The Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse.