| 28 January 2023, Saturday |

Ukraine to deploy troops, helicopters to guard Belarus border

Ukraine will send an additional 8,500 army and police personnel, as well as 15 helicopters, to protect its border with Belarus, the Ukrainian interior minister announced on Thursday, in an effort to prevent migrants from crossing.

The European Union has accused Belarus of inciting migrants to enter its territory before forcing thousands of them to cross into Poland and other EU member states in retribution for sanctions imposed on Minsk.

Despite not being a member of the EU, Ukraine is apprehensive of becoming a new front in the migrant issue.

Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskiy said the new forces would include 3,000 border guard servicemen, 3,500 servicemen of the National Guard and 2,000 police officers.

“Aviation (from) the interior ministry will also be on duty, in particular 15 helicopters, which will ensure mobility and, if necessary, will transfer our forces to the border,” he said.

Monastyrskiy said earlier on Thursday that Ukrainian border guards, police and the national guard would hold drills on the border with Belarus.

“In order to counter the potential crisis with migrants, we will involve all five structures of the Ministry of Internal Affairs without exception,” the minister was quoted as saying in the statement.

Monastyrskiy said the latest actions would deter migrants from entering Ukraine, but the former Soviet republic needed to radically re-equip its border with the neighboring Russia and Belarus in order to avoid similar problems in the future.

  • Reuters