Countries bordering Belarus on Thursday warned the migrant crisis on the European Union's eastern borders could escalate into a military confrontation while Ukraine said it would deploy thousands more troops to reinforce its frontier, APA reports citing Reuters.
Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia said Belarus posed serious threats to European security by deliberately escalating its "hybrid attack" using migrants to retaliate for EU sanctions.
"This increases the possibility of provocations and serious incidents that could also spill over into the military domain," a joint statement by the countries' defence ministers said.
While not an EU member, Ukraine is wary of becoming another flashpoint in the escalating migrant crisis. Kyiv announced drills and the deployment of 8,500 additional troops and police officers to the country's long northern border with Belarus.
Migrants stranded inside Belarus threw rocks and branches at Polish border guards and used logs to try to break down a razor wire fence overnight in new attempts to force their way into the EU, the authorities in Warsaw said.
The EU says Minsk is encouraging thousands of migrants fleeing war-torn parts of the world to try to cross its borders and may impose new sanctions on Belarus and airlines ferrying the migrants as soon as Monday.