Britain sends more troops to Poland and Lithuania amid tensions on the Belarusian border


Britain has sent more troops to Poland and Lithuania to help Eastern European countries tackle the illegal immigration crisis organized by the Belarusian government.

In a statement Thursday, the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) said: “

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Soldiers will participate in a joint military exercise of Polish, British, US and Romanian troops at the military training ground in Bemovopiskie, Poland, on November 18, 2021. (Janek Skarzynski / AFP via Getty Images)

The ministry said the UK already has 150 Polish-based personnel under NATO’s enhanced forward presence as part of a US-led combat group.

MoD said Britain would deploy another 140 military engineers in Poland to provide expert assistance in response to pressure from “illegal immigrants” on the Belarusian border.

The Royal Engineers, a specialist in the 32nd Engineers Regiment, will support the Polish Army in specific engineering tasks along the border, such as infrastructure support and access road repairs. Deployment will begin at the end of December and will continue until April.

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Polish soldiers and police are monitoring illegal immigrants on the Polish-Bellarus border near Ku┼║nica, Poland, in this photo released by the Territorial Defense Forces on November 12, 2021. (Irek Dorozanski / DWOT / Handout via Reuters)

In addition, a British reconnaissance team was dispatched to Lithuania to investigate whether Britain could provide assistance to countries facing similar pressures at the border.

Defense Minister Ben Wallace said: This non-combat assistance supports Poland’s efforts to protect borders and inherit important engineering expertise. “

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A group of illegal immigrants traveled toward the camp along the Belarus-Poland border, joining the gathered people and aiming to enter Poland, an EU member state of the Grodna region, on November 12, 2021. I am. (LeonidShcheglov / Belta / AFP via Getty images)

Thousands of illegal immigrants, mainly from Iraq and Afghanistan, have gathered on the Polish-Belarus border in hopes of joining the European Union. The EU has accused Minsk of coordinating the crisis and putting pressure on the block in retaliation for sanctions against the crackdown on Belarus’ protests in 2020 against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko.

The British government said on November 15 that the Lukashenko administration would have to take responsibility for the illegal immigration crisis at the Belarusian border in solidarity with its European allies.

PA contributed to this report.

Alexander Chan