President Duda considers imposing sanctions on Belarus
Polish President Andrzej Duda has told Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda he was considering imposing national sanctions on Belarus, the Lithuanian president's office said on Friday.
"The Polish leader said he was considering to impose national sanctions on Belarus," the office informed in a statement after the two leaders had talked over the phone.
The office also said at the official website that: "Lithuania and Poland are determined to urge the EU member states to agree on EU-wide sanctions against Belarus as soon as possible. All EU member states should adopt and impose the sanctions shortly".
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia imposed travel bans on Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko and 29 other officials in August, signalling impatience with the West's cautious approach by announcing sanctions without waiting for the rest of the European Union.
Plans by the EU to slap sanctions on Belarus have fallen into disarray this week, sources say, a hostage to internal politicking that one bloc official described as a threat to the bloc's credibility.
Border still open
The border between Belarus and Poland remained open on Friday morning after Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said his country needs to close its borders with Poland and Lithuania, Polish border guards said.
"The border is open, we see no disruptions, there are no waiting times and we have no signals that the border is to be closed," said a Polish border guard officer who declined to be identified as he is not authorised to speak with media.
Lukashenko, dogged by weeks of protests over a disputed election, said on Thursday that Belarus needed to close its borders with Poland and Lithuania, and strengthen border controls with Ukraine.
Belarus is in a political crisis following an Aug. 9 presidential election marred by vote-rigging allegations that led to mass demonstrations against Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994. Lukashenko says he won re-election fairly and is the victim of a smear campaign by the West.
A spokesman for Polish regional border guards and the foreign ministry press office were not immediately available for comment.
"Slavic Brotherhood" at gates
Russian and Belarusian special forces performed a hostage rescue exercise on Friday as part of the "Slavic Brotherhood" joint military drills, the Russian Ministry of Defence said.
The "Slavic Brotherhood" military drills began on September 15 and are due to run until Sept. 25.
The drills are taking place in the Brest region near Belarus' border with Poland and are happening amid mass protests in Belarus following contested Aug. 9 presidential elections.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: KPRP/Grzegorz Jakubowski