EU countries bordering Russia were on high alert on Saturday, with some stepping up the security of their borders, after the Wagner paramilitary group seized control of a strategic Russian city and threatened to move on Moscow.
The mercenary group’s insurrection came after its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin declared war on Moscow’s defense ministry early Saturday morning, claiming Kremlin officials had killed thousands of its soldiers. Russian President Vladimir Putin called the move « betrayal » and promised to « neutralize » the threat in a televised address.
Estonia and Latvia have tightened border security in response, according to the countries’ governments, while Latvia has suspended visa applications and entry into the country from Russia.
“Visa or border entry [for] Russians leaving Russia due to the current events will not be considered,” added Latvian Foreign Minister and incoming president Edgars Rinkēvičs. he wrote on Twitter. He added that there was « no direct threat to Latvia at the moment ».
« Border security has been strengthened » She said Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. « I also call on our people not to go anywhere in Russia. » He also insisted that there was « no direct threat » from rebellion in Russia. Estonian leader She said he was in « close contact » with his Latvian, Lithuanian and Finnish counterparts regarding the mutiny.
Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo also confirmed that he had spoken by telephone with the leaders of Estonia and Latvia about the unfolding events. « We have agreed on a close cooperation, » he said he wrote in a tweet.
Polish President Andrzej Duda said he held consultations with the country’s prime minister and defense ministry on Saturday morning in response to the Russian crisis. « The course of events beyond our eastern border is being monitored on a continuous basis, » he said She said.
Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas he told local media it was « monitoring the situation » but no additional action had been taken so far.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, meanwhile, said Ukraine’s allies were focused on achieving victory against Russia amid the chaos of the Wagner Group rebellion.
« For 100 years, Lithuanians have lived on the fringes of Moscow’s brutal banditocracy, knowing it was only a matter of time before the next chaotic implosion, » Landsbergis said in a tweets. “We are not distracted. We see clearly in the chaos,” she added.
“The goal, as always, is victory and justice for Ukraine. The time is now, » Landsbergis said.