Minsk is recalling its ambassadors to Poland and Lithuania for consultations and encouraging the two neighbouring countries to do the same.
The ambassadors of Poland and Lithuania are reported to have been summoned to the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday.
“Belarusian ambassadors to Poland and Lithuania will be recalled to Minsk for consultations starting October 5. Respectively the ambassadors of Poland and Lithuania to Belarus are invited to follow the example,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes MFA spokesman Anatol Hlaz.
According to him, the Belarusian side suggested Poland and Lithuania cut the staff of their diplomatic missions in Belarus on principles of parity with the Belarusian diplomatic missions in these countries by October, 9 due to their ‘clearly destructive actions’. The ministry expects that the number of Lithuanian diplomatic staff is to be reduced from 25 to 14 diplomats; that of Poland – from 50 to 18.
In addition, the contacts of all EU diplomats and Belarusian state bodies are to be transferred to the Foreign Ministry, Hlaz said.
The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry has already stated that it does not intend to recall its ambassador to Belarus for consultations or cut the embassy staff.
“That is the way they attacked the diplomatic services of Lithuania and Poland, that is the proposal we goy on Friday evening <…> we will be waiting for the next steps. The decision to recall the ambassadors for consultations is [usually] made by the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But we do not have such intention,” Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said.
Lithuania coordinated its actions with Poland, Linkevicius stressed. “Their reaction will be similar,” he added.
As reported earlier, the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is introducing its own sanctions list in the wake of the EU’s imposing restriction measures on dozens of Belarus’ top officials.