Belarus has warned of a harsh military response to any attack, as tensions escalate over a migrant crisis on the border with Poland, which according to Minsk, is dragging Europe into a full-blown military conflict.
Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin on Friday slammed Poland's military build-up on the Belarusian border, saying the move was "in no way connected" to the migrant crisis.
"The Belarusian armed forces are ready to respond harshly to any attacks," Khrenin said in a video address. "The language of ultimatums, threats, and blackmail is unacceptable."
"We'd like to warn hotheads against overestimating their capabilities," he added.
Khrenin also said that Belarus' ally Russia was ready to help ensure the country's security.
Poland has closed its border with Belarus as hundreds of migrants, trying to cross into the European Union, are stranded in freezing temperatures on the border between the two countries. It has also deployed hundreds of troops to the frontier, put up a fence topped with barbed wire, and approved the construction of a wall.
Ukraine, meanwhile, announced drills and the deployment of 8,500 additional troops and police officers to the country's long northern border with Belarus.
Countries bordering Belarus also warned on Thursday that the migrant crisis could escalate into a military confrontation.
Belarus shares a border with Ukraine in the south. It borders Poland and Lithuania in the west, Latvia in the north, and Russia in the east.
Earlier this week, President Alexander Lukashenko accused Warsaw of blackmailing his country with the military build-up on the frontier.
Russia also sent its strategic bomber planes to fly over Belarus in a signal of further support for Minsk.
The West accuses Belarus of coordinating an unprecedented wave of asylum seekers in retaliation for existing sanctions imposed by the bloc on his country. Lukashenko has denied the allegation.
Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses: