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Czechs hold off on sending troops to Poland-Belarus border

Czechs hold off on sending troops to Poland-Belarus border

Belarusian border guard officers patrol near Kuznica-Bruzgi checkpoint on the Polish-Belarusian border amid the migrant crisis, in Kuznica, Poland, on Dec 6, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

PRAGUE: The Czech Republic will hold off on sending up to 150 soldiers for now to help Poland protect its border with Belarus after the migrant situation stabilised, the Czech defence minister said on Monday.

The number of attempted crossings into Poland by migrants travelling via Belarus from the Middle East or Africa has fallen from highs seen in November. The European Union accused Minsk of engineering a crisis, but Belarus denies that.

The Czech government had approved last week a plan to send soldiers to help Poland with building and repairing barriers and other support work.

It was awaiting parliamentary approval but Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar said on Monday that the mandate would not be debated for now.

"The planned deployment of Czech soldiers to Poland is not necessary yet because the situation on the border with Belarus has been stabilised," Metnar said on Twitter, adding his Polish counterpart Mariusz Blaszczak had informed him of this.

The Czech Republic would have been the third outside country to send personnel to the Poland-Belarus border, after fellow NATO military alliance members Britain and Estonia.

Source: Reuters/e

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