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

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

“We now have to be clear-eyed, we should be practical in regards to the challenges we face. And what we see is a major, massive Russian navy build-up,” Stoltenberg advised a information convention with Ukraine’s Overseas Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Brussels.

Although he mentioned 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 prepared to make use of most of these navy 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 mentioned 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 navy may close to Poland in joint paratrooper drills.

Russia, Belarus’ largest political and financial companion, 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 international affairs chief Josep Borrell introduced in a information convention in Brussels that EU international ministers have agreed to impose new sanctions on “individuals, airways, journey businesses and everybody concerned on this unlawful push of migrants towards our borders.”

The complete listing of individuals and entities can 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 mentioned earlier on Monday that he had spoken to the Belarusian international minister over the weekend, telling him “the state of affairs on the border was utterly unacceptable and that humanitarian assist was wanted.”

Hundreds of persons are caught in freezing situations close to the Kuźnica-Bruzgi checkpoint, attempting to cross into Poland. Polish border guards used loudspeakers on Monday to warn individuals there that drive could also be used towards them if they do not observe orders. The authorities additionally deployed a helicopter and a water cannon into the realm, 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 four over the disaster. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki advised 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, advised CNN on Monday morning that round four,000 individuals had been camped out alongside the border and that the state of affairs was “very tense and really harmful.”

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

Extra individuals had been heading to the realm on Monday. A CNN workforce witnessed hundreds of individuals within the Bruzgi migrant camp in Belarus choose up their luggage and begin transferring in the 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 means 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’s going to 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 mentioned the individuals transferring in the direction of the border have “purely peaceable intentions,” in response to Belarus state media BelTA.

“The refugees gathered heat garments, tents, sleeping luggage, hoping for a constructive final result of the state of affairs. By midday, they self-organized into a big column and commenced to maneuver in the 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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