Poland, Lithuania and Latvia are considering triggering Article 4 of NATO over the Belarusian border crisis

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told the Polish press agency on Sunday that the three countries were in talks on whether to trigger the article calling for consultation if “the territorial integrity, political independence or security of either party is threatened “.

A NATO official said last week that the military alliance is watching the situation escalate and “NATO allies are in full solidarity with Poland and other allies affected by the instrumentalization of migrants in Belarus”.

The official said Belarus “is responsible for the crisis and the Lukashenko regime’s use of migrants as a hybrid tactic is inhuman, illegal and unacceptable”.
On Monday, Polish border officials used loudspeakers to warn people at the Kuźnica-Bruzgi border crossing that violence could be used against them if they did not follow orders. Authorities also deployed a helicopter and water cannon in the area, although the water cannon was not used. A column of police vehicles approaches the border.
Thousands of people tried to get into Poland in the past few days and sat on the ground near the border crossing despite the freezing temperatures. Katarzyna Zdanowicz, a spokeswoman for the Polish border guards, told CNN on Monday morning that around 4,000 people were encamped along the border and the situation was “very tense and very dangerous”.

Zdanowicz said that on Sunday night in the Kuznica region there were “forced mass attempts to cross the border” by a group of 60 people. Those who tried to cross the border behaved “aggressively” according to the border protection service. They pelted the Polish border police with stones and branches, she said, adding that guns were “pointed at our soldiers” and a “flare gun” was fired at them.

More people flocked to the area on Monday. A CNN team saw thousands of people at the Bruzgi migrant camp in Belarus on Monday morning picking up their bags and making their way to the Polish border.

Rumors circulated in the camp that the Polish government could open the border and enable a humanitarian corridor to Germany. Poland has stubbornly denied this, and the people who have gathered in the area have received text messages from Polish authorities calling the information “a total lie and nonsense”. The SMS that members of the CNN team in the region also received read in part: “Poland does not allow migrants to come to Germany. It will protect its border act. ”

The Belarus State Border Committee said the people moving towards the border had “purely peaceful intentions,” according to the Belarusian state media BelTA.

“The refugees collected warm clothes, tents, sleeping bags in the hope of a positive outcome. Around noon they organized themselves into a large column and made their way to the Bruzgi checkpoint,” said Anton Bychkovsky, the official representative of the border committee , was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, on Monday the European Union extended the sanctions against Belarus, the European Union’s foreign policy maker Josep Borrell said before a meeting in Brussels.

“Today we are going to adopt a new package of sanctions against Belarusian people who are responsible for what is happening … and we are going to put in place a framework for other sanctions against other people, airlines, travel agents and anyone involved in this illegal one Matter involved, impose. ” Pressure from migrants within our borders, “he said.

Tensions are mounting on the Polish-Belarusian border.  You need to know that

Borrell said he spoke to the Belarusian foreign minister over the weekend and told him that “the situation at the border is totally unacceptable and that humanitarian aid is needed”.

He said the European Union was not talking about the use of the military at the moment.

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned that airlines that continue to transport refugees to Minsk could be denied overflight rights and landing sites. Maas also praised Turkey for stopping the further influx of people into Belarus.

“All airlines should follow the example of Turkish Airlines and others and oppose Lukashenko’s human trafficking business. Harsh sanctions will be imposed on anyone who does not comply,” Maas said on Sunday.

Katharina Krebs from CNN in Moscow and Allegra Goodwin and Niamh Kennedy in London contributed to the coverage.

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