Latvian minister: ‘Everybody is looking at Afghanistan but what is happening in Belarus is hybrid attack on EU borders’

Latvia’s Defense Minister Artis Pabriks. Photo:

On September 2, Defence Ministers of the EU member countries held an informal meeting in Kranj (Slovenia). EU ministers had a discussion on developments in EU operational activities, in particular in the Sahel, Libya, Mozambique and the Western Balkans.

“First, we [the ministers] have to answer what EU battled groups [military unit adhering to the Common Security and Defence Policy ] have been doing at this moment because it’s not about troops, it’s about political will. I would rather say that we have to think not only about Afghanistan, but what do we do with Belarus? And that’s important,” Latvia’s Defence Minister Artis Pabriks told journalists.

According to him, not only EU coordination is needed there but support including possibility for new sanctions, because EU borders are ‘under the stress’.

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When asked about the anticipated flow of Afghan refugees and the drawbacks in controlling border, the politician noted that Western media should pay much more attention to the developments in Belarus.

“Because everybody is looking at Afghanistan but what is happening in Belarus is a hybrid attack on our borders, where basically the state is kidnapping people, giving them visas and then pushing them into the border area. This is what Belarus is doing now. So this is a dangerous thing, particularly because of military exercise Zapad 21. So they are colliding the same place at the borders of European Union,” Artis Pabriks stressed.

The bloc needs also more action in way of carrot and stick against Belarus, the minister added.

On September 2, the Lithuanian side published a video which shows Belarusian security officers holding shields and driving migrants away from the Belarusian border.