Urgent Call for US Citizens To Depart Belarus

(LibertySons.org) – The US embassy in Minsk, Belarus, issued an alert on August 21 asking all US citizens to leave the country as soon as possible and advising others not to travel to the nation after Lithuania closed two border crossings on August 18. The embassy advised any remaining Americans to leave via one of two remaining border crossings to Lithuania or one to Poland. The US State Department issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory on July 26.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Belarus has facilitated the Kremlin’s aggression against its neighbor. In June, when Yevgeny Prigozhin briefly marched his Wagner Group against Moscow military headquarters, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko offered a compromise: a safe haven to Prigozhin and any of his men who chose to follow him if he broke off his revolt.

The exodus has resulted in a substantial military buildup in Belarus, causing the neighboring NATO countries of Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland to close border crossings and tighten security measures. State Department officials mentioned the increase in Russian military personnel as one of the reasons to depart Belarus. Others included potential civil unrest, the arbitrary enforcement of local laws — often targeting Americans and other foreign nationals — the risk of detention, and the US Embassy’s limited ability to assist Americans because of a much more limited presence in the country.

On August 10, Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak announced the country was deploying 10,000 troops along its border with Belarus. Poland, uncomfortable with the perceived military buildup of Russian and Kremlin-directed mercenary troops in Belarus, reinforced its border. However, Poland claims that Belarus has regularly flown immigrants from Middle Eastern and African countries to Belarus and encouraged them to immigrate to NATO countries illegally to destabilize European countries financially.

On August 15, Latvian Defence Minister Inara Murniece also requested assistance from her country’s armed forces to reinforce borders against “hybrid threats” of immigrants seeking refuge and asylum in record numbers as military forces amassed across the border. Like her Polish counterpart, she suggested the ploy was a Belarusian strategy employed against countries that have provided Ukraine with military and humanitarian support.

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