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Minister of Defence of Estonia: developments in Lithuania a hybrid attack, our duty to support

24. July 2021 - 9:07

Friday, Minister of Defence of Estonia Kalle Laanet had a telephone call with Lithuania´s Minister of Interior Agnė Bilotaitė to discuss the situation on the Lithuania-Belarus border and opportunities to support Lithuania in the current crisis. Ministers acknowledged that the situation is by no means a typical migration crisis. According to Bilotaitė, this is a state-sponsored hybrid attack against Lithuania, whole EU and the democratic values and it aims to destabilize Lithuania and the region.

Laanet stressed that for Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, the situation is further aggravated by the fact that in parallel Russia and Belarus are running a strategic exercise Zapad 2021, the main activities of which are aimed at the Baltic region. "Lithuania is our close Ally and our duty is to support them immediately in this crisis," Minister of Defence Laanet said and noted that 100km of barbwire will be allocated from the Estonian Defence Forces Support Command as initial measure to allow Lithuania to accelerate the strengthening of its border.

"We are also ready to send three unmanned aircraft crews to Lithuania from August 1 to improve situational awareness at the border," Laanet added. The assistance is based on a request from the Lithuanian side. Ministers noted that sending of irregular migrants is organized by the state is a fact and that there is concrete evidence of this - both, the companies and the people involved are known and it is necessary to impose EU sanctions on these people.

In last month, 2,453 irregular migrants arrived in Lithuania, which is almost 33 times more than last year and 66 times more than in 2019.

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