Kallas: Estonia stands with Poland over migrant border crisis

Kaja Kallas.
Kaja Kallas. Source: ERR

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) reaffirmed support for Poland during the country's ongoing border crisis with Belarus on Monday.

Kallas and Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki communicated on Monday after hundreds of migrants, led by the Belarusian security services, gathered at the border between the two countries. Their intention is to enter the EU.

Kallas called the videos circulating on social media, many published by the Polish security services, "highly disturbing".

"Lukashenka is escalating his hybrid attack on the EU´s and NATO´s border in serious violation of international law," she wrote, speaking about Belarusian leader.

"We stand with #Poland," she added.

Since the summer, thousands of migrants, mostly from the middle east, have tried to cross Belarus' borders with Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.

EU officials, including Estonians, hold the Minsk regime responsible for facilitating and enabling irregular migration, calling it "hybrid aggression" against the European Union.

Hundreds of migrants are moving towards the Polish-Belarusian border in the Kuznica region on Monday, Lithuanian national broadcaster LRT reported. Lithuania's Interior Ministry has proposed declaring a state of emergency in it's border region.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Ready to raise issue at UN security council

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets speaking at the UN Security Council about Belarus in October 2021. Source: Marko Muum.

Estonia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs told ERR News on Monday it is closely following events in Poland.

Asked if Estonia will raise the topic at the United Nations Security Council - of which Estonia is a non-permanent member - a spokesperson said: "Estonia closely follows developments on the EU's external borders, is in close contact with Poland and stands ready to raise the issue at the Security Council as well."

Estonia has previously raised the situation in Belarus at the UNSC three times and discussed "worrisome developments".

"It has been Estonia's priority to keep the Security Council's and the international community's focus on Belarus," the spokesperson said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also encouraged the EU to act.

"[The] EU needs to reinforce its external borders as well as speed up work on sanctions towards [the] BY [Belarus] regime," a spokesperson wrote on Twitter.

PPA: Monitoring situation closely

A PPA officer checking a car at a port. Source: PPA

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) said it is monitoring the situation in Poland and is ready to change its activities if necessary, newspaper Postimees reported on Monday.

Egert Belitšev, head of the PPA's border guard department, said information is exchanged between partners on a daily basis. There is currently a 17-member Estonian team in Lithuania assisting on the border.

So far, a handful of migrants have been caught trying to travel through Estonia to reach the Scandinavian countries, especially Finland. They have been caught on buses and in the boots of cars.

"For our part, we are doing our utmost to prevent Estonia from being used as a transit country for illegal migration," Belitšev said. 

"In a situation where there are currently many people in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland who may want to use Estonia for illegal migration to the Nordic countries, we need to send a clear signal that the probability of being caught by the police in Estonia is very high." 


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Editor: Helen Wright

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