2021.10.26 13:07

Lithuanian soldiers will use weapons on Belarus border if 'their lives in danger', says minister

LRT TV, LRT.lt2021.10.26 13:07

Tensions on the Polish-Belarusian border have increased in recent days. If similar scenarios were repeated in Lithuania, the country’s soldiers would not hesitate to use their weapons, according to Lithuanian Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas.

On Monday night, a group of 60-70 irregular migrants attempted to break the barrier on the Polish-Belarusian border, the Polish State Border Guard Service announced. Belarusian officers assisted them in this endeavour, videos showed. Two Polish soldiers were injured in the incident.

Read more: Migration crisis in Baltics and Poland

According to Anušauskas, the limit of the number of soldiers on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border “has not been reached yet”, and it could be increased, if needed.

“Following the example of Poland, we planned for rapid response capabilities,” the defence minister told LRT RADIO. “If crossings of larger groups were organised, capabilities would be concentrated in that area. There would be more soldiers and equipment.”

Read more: Would gunshots lead to war? Tensions grow at Lithuania's border with Belarus

Anušauskas added that, in terms of migration, “significantly more aggressive tactics are being used against Poland” than against Lithuania.

“But I can say that if the lives of our soldiers were in danger, they would use weapons. Of course, in their own territory, but they have a right to do so,” the defence minister said.

The Lithuanian parliament has granted the Lithuanian soldiers greater powers on the border until mid-December. These powers will be extended if necessary, according to Anušauskas.

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