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Ukraine stages drills aimed at defending border from migrant influx

Ukraine will deploy another 8,500 troops and police officers, and 15 helicopters to guard its border with Belarus, aiming to prevent possible attempts by migrants to breach the frontier, the Ukrainian Interior Minister said on Thursday.

The European Union has accused Belarus of encouraging migrants to come to its territory then pushing thousands of them to cross into Poland and other neighbouring EU states in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Minsk. While not an EU member, Ukraine is wary of becoming another front in the migrant crisis.

Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky said the new forces would include 3,000 border guard servicemen, 3,500 servicemen of the National Guard and 2,000 police officers.
Mr Monastyrsky watched Ukrainian border guards, police and the national guard holding drills on the border with Belarus aimed at pushing back the migrant influx.

Mr Monastyrsky said the latest actions would deter migrants from entering Ukraine, but the former Soviet republic needed to radically re-equip its border with neighbouring Russia and Belarus in order to avoid similar problems in the future.


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