US urges citizens to leave Belarus as neighboring Lithuania shuts border

US urges citizens to leave Belarus as neighboring Lithuania shuts border

Poland, Lithuania, Latvia hint at further closures of border crossings with Belarus, says US Embassy in Minsk

By Burc Eruygur

ISTANBUL (AA) - The US on Monday urged its citizens to leave Belarus “immediately” as Lithuania shut down two of six border crossings with the country amid growing tensions in the region.

“Do not travel to Belarus due to Belarusian authorities’ continued facilitation of Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, the buildup of Russian military forces in Belarus, the arbitrary enforcement of local laws, the potential of civil unrest, the risk of detention, and the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Belarus,” said a statement by the US Embassy in Minsk.

It urged US citizens in Belarus to leave the country, using border crossings with Lithuania and Latvia, or by plane.

“U.S. citizens are not permitted to enter Poland overland from Belarus. Do not travel to Russia or to Ukraine,” the statement further said.

The Polish, Lithuanian, and Latvian governments have hinted at further closures of border crossings with Belarus, it added.

Tensions between Belarus, a Russian ally, and Poland, Lithuania and Latvia have risen in recent weeks, particularly because of the presence of the Wagner paramilitary group, which found refuge in Belarus after its short-lived mutiny against Moscow in June.

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