NATO chief flags Baltic tensions ahead of Zapad military drill | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

NATO chief flags Baltic tensions ahead of Zapad military drill

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance would keep a close eye on “hybrid activities” by Belarus against alliance member Lithuania, as the former teams up with Russia for the Zapad 2021 military drill next month.

In an Aug. 9 tweet, Stoltenberg said he had discussed Belarus’ behavior, including what he called “migratory pressure,” with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda. “NATO is closely monitoring the situation and considering how we can further assist our ally and maintain safety and security in the region,” he wrote.

Lithuanian officials and Western analysts for weeks have flagged the Belarusian regime’s seemingly coordinated push of illegal migration into the tiny European Union member, including from Iraq, Iran and Syria.

The simmering standoff is but one puzzle piece in what analysts said is a potentially precarious context for the Zapad exercise. The event will see 12,800 troops training in Belarus from Sept. 10 to Sept. 16, including 2,500 from Russia, according to Russian state-owned news agency Tass.