Ukraine war: Lithuania closes two Belarus border crossings
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There are six border crossings between Lithuania and Belarus that will be closed.

As of Friday, both rural crossing points, which are not used by commercial vehicles, will be closed.

Due to changes in the geopolitical situation and threats to national security, as well as smuggling, the government said it made the decision.

The western neighbours of Belarus have increased security after Minsk granted shelter to Wagner mercenaries.

A deal was reached in June to end Wagner’s brief mutiny in Russia.

A Lithuanian government official said the crossings at Tverecius and Sumskas will be closed, and traffic will be diverted to Medininkai, the largest of the six checkpoints.

Transport Deputy Minister Agn Vaiciukeviciute told the Associated Press the closures would be temporary.

Additionally, Poland has severely restricted access from Belarus, and Latvia ordered reinforcements on Tuesday.

The Latvian prime minister, Krisjanis Karins, said Belarus needed to know his country was committed to securing its borders.

According to Mr Karin, the pressure from Belarus has not decreased this summer, but is increasing gradually.

We are simply increasing our presence and sending a clear message to our own society and the Belarusian authorities.

After an alleged incursion by Belarusian helicopters, Poland announced last week that it would send 10,000 extra troops to its border with Belarus.

Poland’s PM Mateusz Morawiecki warned that Wagner fighters could pose as migrants and enter the EU under the cover of mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner group.

Since Wagner’s mutiny in June challenged the authority of President Vladimir Putin, Belarus – a close ally of Russia – has raised concerns among its neighbours.

In a deal, the troops aborted their march on Moscow 200km (124 miles) from Moscow, after seizing the southern Russian city of Rostov and marching on it for 24 hours.

Wagner fighters were given the option of joining the regular Russian army or going to Belarus under the agreement.