Lithuania Closes Some Checkpoints Along Border With Belarus

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Lithuania has temporarily closed two of the six border checkpoints it shares with Belarus as tensions between the two countries are on the rise.  Lithuania has become increasingly cautious about the presence of the Russia-linked Wagner mercenary group in Belarus. Lithuanian officials estimate that there are up to 4,500 Wagner troops in Belarus near the border with Lithuania and Poland. Neighboring Latvia said that its State Border Guard Service is increasing the number of border guards to combat what it says is Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s plan to push migrants across borders as a form of “hybrid-warfare.”  Poland has also been increasing the number of troops along its border with Belarus in recent weeks.  Lithuania, Latvia and Poland are all members of NATO and have kept a wary eye on Belarus since Wagner mercenaries relocated there after its “armed rebellion” against Russia. The news comes as the Chinese defense minister is visiting Belarus