Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid discussed the hybrid crisis launched by Belarus on the Lithuanian border with Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani and Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet.
“The influx of people that has been directed over the Lithuanian border in a coordinated manner over the past weeks is no refugee crisis. Neither is it a migration crisis or the problem of Lithuania alone. It is clearly a hybrid crisis that can prove dangerous to all three Baltic states as well as all of NATO and the European Union,” Kaljulaid wrote on social media. “We mustn’t minimize or underestimate this threat. This knowledge must guide the steps of the Baltic states and our allies and partners.”
Kaljulaid underscored the importance of Baltic cooperation in the present crisis as well as the need to draw the allies’ and international organizations’ attention to the severity of the situation. The head of state pointed out that simultaneously with the hybrid crisis, the Zapad 2021 large-scale military exercise of Russia and Belarus is to be held soon.
“It is difficult to assess at this point whether or not there is a link between these two operations, but it will definitely put more strain on the situation, and we need to monitor the situation very carefully with the European Union and NATO and react adequately,” Kaljulaid said.