NATO 'strongly condemns' Belarus over border migrant crisis
NATO on Nov. 12 "strongly" condemned Belarus for "artificially creating" migrant crisis "for political purposes".
"NATO Allies stand in solidarity with Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and other Allied nations affected, and support measures, guided by fundamental values and applicable international law, taken by Allies individually and collectively, in response to a situation that requires close coordination with key international partners," the bloc said in a written statement.
NATO "will remain vigilant against the risk of further escalation and provocation by Belarus at its borders with Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia," the statement read.
The bloc pledged to "continue to monitor the implications for the security of the Alliance."
It urged Belarus to "cease these actions, to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to abide by international law."
EU countries bordering Belarus – Lithuania, Latvia and Poland – have reported a dramatic spike in the number of irregular crossings since August.
NATO and the EU consider Belarus' approach toward migrants an effort to destabilize and undermine security in the bloc through non-military means.
According to the latest EU figures, 7,935 people tried to enter the bloc via the Belarus-EU border so far this year, up sharply from just 150 last year.
On Monday, Polish authorities stepped up border protection and mobilized more than 12,000 troops after a large group of migrants started marching toward the country's frontier with Belarus accompanied by the Belarusian military.