Ukraine sends 8,500 soldiers to its border with Belarus due to fears of migrants

Ukraine has deployed 8,500 additional soldiers to its border with Belarus amid fears that Minsk will send migrants to its southern neighbor.

It comes amid a crisis on the border between Poland and Belarus, which Warsaw claims was instigated by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.

Poland alleged that Lukashenko had flown migrants from the Middle East and sent them to the eastern borders of the European Union to destabilize the bloc.

The measure is allegedly in retaliation for European Union sanctions against Belarus for suppressing the opposition following a disputed presidential election.

Kiev is now afraid of sending migrants to its border with Belarus. It says the forces will work with the police to tighten inspections in the area.

“Aviation and drones will be actively used for patrol and surveillance,” a spokesman for Ukraine’s State Border Service said.

The government has allocated 7 million euros for this operation.

Funding from the State Budget Reserve Fund will be allocated and directed to the units of the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense to strengthen the protection of state borders in the Ukrainian-Belarusian division and eliminate the threat of emergency, said the Ukrainian Ministry of Economy in a statment.

Kiev is also concerned that the border with Belarus – Russia’s close ally – could be used by Moscow to launch a military offensive.

The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence told Military Times this weekend that Russia has more than 92,000 troops massed around Ukraine’s border and is preparing for an offensive by the end of January or the beginning of February.

Moscow rejected such suggestions as inflammatory and complained about what it says increases NATO activity in the region.

OSCE Special Representative Mikko Kinunin said in a statement that monitoring teams reported damage to civilian homes and infrastructure on both sides of the conflict in eastern Ukraine due to heavy weapons.

He said that “the average number of daily violations of the ceasefire exceeded the number before the implementation of measures to strengthen the ceasefire in July 2020”.

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