Czechs move closer to sending troops to Poland-Belarus border amid migrant crisis
The Czech Republic on Wednesday announced its government had approved a mandate to send 150 troops to the Belarus-Poland border as the migrant crisis there continues.
The measure must also be approved by both chambers of the nation’s parliament, which is expected, according to Radio Free Europe. This action by the Czech Republic comes just weeks after both Estonia and Britain deployed troops to the Belarus-Poland border.
“The government has just approved a mandate to send troops to protect the Polish-Belarusian border. Up to 150 soldiers are ready for a period of up to 180 days. The mandate has yet to be approved by both chambers of Parliament!” Czech Minister of Defense Lubomír Metnar tweeted.
Vláda právě schválila mandát na vyslání vojáků na ochranu polsko-běloruské hranice. Připraveno je až 150 vojáků na dobu působení až do 180 dní. Mandát ještě musí schválit obě komory Parlamentu!
— Lubomír Metnar (@metnarl) December 8, 2021
Politico Europe reported around 100 Estonian and 100 British were being sent to Poland to help secure its border with Belarus.
Thousands of migrants, mostly from the Middle East, have gathered at Belarus’ borders with its European Union-member neighbors. Travel agents and migrants have reported that the Belarusian government encouraged easy migration to the country. Upon arriving, migrants were reportedly driven to the border of the EU, given wire cutters and encouraged to illegally cross into countries like Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.
The EU has accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of manufacturing the crisis and using the migrants for his own political purposes, namely to unsettle the EU as retribution for sanctions that were issued against his government.
The sanctions were issued following crackdowns on the pro-democracy movement in Belarus, a country which has been controlled by Lukashenko — often referred to as “Europe’s last dictator” — for over two decades.