Ukraine has deployed 8,500 additional troops to its border with Belarus over fears that Minsk will send migrants to its southern neighbor.
It comes amid a crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border, which Warsaw says was sparked by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.
Poland alleged that Lukashenko had brought migrants from the Middle East by plane and sent them to the EU’s eastern borders to destabilize the bloc.
The action is claimed to be in retaliation for EU sanctions against Belarus following a crackdown on dissent following a contested presidential election.
Today, Kiev fears that migrants will be sent to its border with Belarus. He says the troops will work with police to tighten controls in the area.
“Aviation and drones will also be actively used for patrolling and surveillance,” said a spokesperson for the National Border Service of Ukraine.
The government has allocated 7 million euros to the operation.
“The funding will be allocated from the reserve fund of the state budget and directed to the units of the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense to strengthen the protection of the state border on the Ukrainian section. Belarusian and eliminate the threat of an emergency situation of a social nature, ”said the Ukrainian Ministry of Economy in a declaration.
Kiev also fears that the border with Belarus – a close ally of Russia – could be used by Moscow to stage a military assault.
The Ukrainian military intelligence chief told the Military Times newspaper over the weekend that Russia had more than 92,000 troops massed around Ukraine’s borders and was preparing for an attack by late January or early February.
Moscow dismissed these suggestions as inflammatory and complained about what it says is increasing activity in the region by the NATO alliance.
OSCE Special Representative Mikko Kinnunen said in a statement that monitoring teams reported damage to homes and civilian infrastructure on both sides of the conflict in the eastern regions of Ukraine by the heavy weapons.
“The average number of daily ceasefire violations exceeded the figure before the entry into force of measures to strengthen the ceasefire in July 2020,” he said.