EU slaps new sanctions on Belarus as NATO warns Russia over military buildup

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NATO Secretary-Normal Jens Stoltenberg on Monday warned Moscow towards “potential aggressive actions” amid a big focus of Russian troops on Ukraine’s borders, deepening issues over the potential for a wider geopolitical disaster.

“Now we have to be clear-eyed, we have to be sensible concerning the challenges we face. And what we see is a major, giant Russian army build-up,” Stoltenberg instructed a information convention with Ukraine’s Overseas Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Brussels.

Although he stated didn’t wish to speculate about Russia’s intentions, he added: “We see an uncommon focus of troops, and we all know that Russia has been keen to make use of these kinds of army capabilities earlier than to conduct aggressive actions towards Ukraine.” Ukraine shouldn’t be a member of NATO or the EU.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated final week that Russia’s current actions had been paying homage to its invasion of Crimea in 2014.

The phrases of warning from NATO come days after Russia and Belarus flexed their army may close to Poland in joint paratrooper drills.

Russia, Belarus’ largest political and financial associate, continues to defend Minsk’s dealing with of the border disaster whereas additionally denying any involvement in it.

On Monday, the EU ramped up stress on all events concerned within the border disaster. The bloc’s overseas affairs chief Josep Borrell introduced in a information convention in Brussels that EU overseas ministers have agreed to impose new sanctions on “folks, airways, journey companies and everybody concerned on this unlawful push of migrants towards our borders.”

The total record of individuals and entities could be “confirmed within the coming days,” he added. This would be the fifth spherical of sanctions slapped on Belarus by the EU following a disputed Presidential election and crackdown on dissidents.

Borrell stated earlier on Monday that he had spoken to the Belarusian overseas minister over the weekend, telling him “the state of affairs on the border was utterly unacceptable and that humanitarian assist was wanted.”

Hundreds of individuals are caught in freezing circumstances close to the Kuźnica-Bruzgi checkpoint, attempting to cross into Poland. Polish border guards used loudspeakers on Monday to warn folks there that power could also be used towards them if they do not observe orders. The authorities additionally deployed a helicopter and a water cannon into the world, though the water cannon has not been used. A column of police autos has been seen approaching the border.

Poland, Lithuania and Latvia are contemplating triggering NATO’s Article 4 over the disaster. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki instructed the Polish Press Company on Sunday that his authorities is in talks with Latvia and Lithuania on whether or not to set off the article, which requires session when “the territorial integrity, political independence or safety of any of the events is threatened.”

Children caught up in Belarus-Poland border crisis face bitter nights without shelter

Katarzyna Zdanowicz, a spokesperson for the Polish Border Guard, instructed CNN on Monday morning that round 4,000 folks had been camped out alongside the border and that the state of affairs was “very tense and really harmful.”

Zdanowicz stated there had been “pressured mass makes an attempt to cross the border” within the Kuznica space by a bunch of 60 folks on Sunday night time. Those that tried to cross behaved “aggressively,” in keeping with the border guard service. They threw stones and branches at Polish border police, she stated, including that weapons had been being “pointed in direction of our servicemen” and a “flare gun” was fired in direction of them.

Extra folks had been heading to the world on Monday. A CNN workforce witnessed hundreds of individuals within the Bruzgi migrant camp in Belarus decide up their baggage and begin transferring in direction of the Polish border on Monday morning.

A rumor began circulating within the camp that the Polish authorities may open the border and permit a humanitarian hall by way of to Germany. Poland has adamantly denied this and folks amassed within the space have acquired textual content messages from Polish authorities saying the knowledge was a “whole lie and nonsense.”

The SMS message, additionally acquired by members of the CNN workforce within the space, reads partially: “Poland will not let migrants move to Germany. It would shield its border. Do not get fooled, do not attempt to take any motion.”

People gather near the Belarusian - Polish border crossing in Kuznica on November 15, 2021.

Belarus’ State Border Committee stated the folks transferring in direction of the border have “purely peaceable intentions,” in keeping with Belarus state media BelTA.

“The refugees gathered heat garments, tents, sleeping baggage, hoping for a constructive consequence of the state of affairs. By midday, they self-organized into a big column and started to maneuver in direction of the Bruzgi checkpoint,” Anton Bychkovsky, the official consultant of the border committee, was quoted as saying.

CNN’s Katharina Krebs in Moscow and Allegra Goodwin and Niamh Kennedy in London contributed reporting.

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