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Belarus Official Warns 'Force of Arms' Justified Against NATO Neighbor as Putin’s Regional War Tensions Mount

Belarus Official Says 'Force of Arms' Justified Against Lithuania
Source: Unsplash

The flag of Belarus could cause tension in the Suwaki Gap; A Belarusian soldier in military training.

Nov. 5 2023, Published 1:07 p.m. ET

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As Russia and Ukraine continue to battle, tension is increasing between a Russian ally and a former Soviet state which is now part of NATO. has reported that a leader of the Belarus government is claiming “every reason to use the force of arms” to attack Lithuania, in the wake of new travel restrictions.

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Belarus Official Says 'Force of Arms' Justified Against Lithuania
Source: Mega

This map shows the countries watching the Suwalki Gap closely.

The countries share a border along northwest Belarus and southeast Lithuania. Poland shares a border in that area as well.

The Belarus government held an “ideological seminar” Tuesday, October 24. The First Deputy State Secretary of the country’s Security Council used it as a chance to complain about Lithuanian policies.

Pavel Muraveiko claimed Lithuania recently stopped issuing tourist visas to Belarussian residents, while closing several border crossings.

“Lithuania has effectively banned us from moving our goods across the border,” Newsweek quoted Muraveiko as saying. “Under all norms of international law, such a step is considered economic aggression.”

The Ukrainian version of Pravda said Muraveiko apparently is referring to the Suwalki Gap. Knewz first noted its potential importance in February 2022, weeks before Russia’s “special military operation” began.

Muraveiko went on to call the border a vital corridor for Belarus, so the armed forces would be justified to “break through” it.

If that happened, Belarus would have a direct route to a Russian territory along the Baltic Sea.

But Muraveiko admitted his government probably will not attempt a breakthough at this time, because Belarus faces "unprecedented pressure from the West."

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Belarus has faced economic sanctions similar to Russia, because it backs Russia’s military action against Ukraine.

There was no immediate comment on Muraveiko’s words from Lithuanian officials.

But Lithuania’s Minister of Internal Affairs announced its military will begin training drills on closing the Belarussan border, with help from surrounding countries.

Agne Bilotaite told RBC Ukraine it should be considered a “serious signal” to potential attacking countries.

Lithuania and Poland agreed to improve the protection of the Suwalki Gap four years ago.

But Knewz quoted a Russian military leader in July 2022 as saying the Belarus armed forces were trained to storm into the gap by the Wagner Group.

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That group’s future has been murky since the death of leader Yevgeny Prigozhin in a plane crash in August. Knewz reported recently that Russian President Vladimir Putin blames that crash on exploding hand grenades.

Latvia took its own steps in recent weeks to tighten the economic screws against Belarus.

Airspace along the Belarus-Latvia border is restricted through the end of 2023. And the Latvian President announced the border will close if large numbers of migrants attempt to enter.


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