The interior minister of Ukraine Denys Monastyrsky said on Thursday that the security personnel would run drills on the country’s shared border with Belarus “to counter a potential crisis with migrants”.
During an unscheduled trip to the Volyn region – which borders Belarus and Poland – Monastyrsky announced that a total of 8,500 troops would be dispatched to the border with Belarus.
He said the deployment would comprise 3,000 border guards, 3,500 National Guard servicemen and 2,000 police.
“The Interior Ministry’s aviation will also be on duty, including 15 helicopters,” he said, adding that these measures “will help to deter illegal migrants”.
In the meantime, Ukraine’s border guards service said it had so far not seen “any threat” from the crisis, which is unfolding some 200 kilometres (around 124 miles) away from the country’s frontier.
On Thursday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed the issue with Lithuanian counterpart Gitanas Nauseda and vowed to “adequately respond to developments of the situation at the border”.
Poland-Belarus border tensions
Migrants have been trying to cross from Belarus into EU member Poland for months but tensions reached a new level this week when hundreds made a joint effort and were pushed back by Polish border guards.
Western governments accuse Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko of luring migrants to his country and sending them to cross into Poland in retaliation for previous sanctions over Minsk’s crackdown on the opposition.
Poland has accused Minsk of “state terrorism” for using intimidation to force migrants to breach the border.
Belarus has in turn accused Poland of violating international norms by blocking the migrants and beating them back with violence.
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