Poland almost doubles the number of its troops on the Belarusian border

Poland almost doubles the number of its troops on the Belarusian border

Poland has nearly doubled the number of troops deployed to guard its border with Belarus in response to an increase in the number of asylum seekers entering the country.
The new deployment, announced Tuesday by Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, means that nearly 6,000 troops are now operating in the border region, a significant increase in the military presence in recent days.

As of Saturday, Blaszczak estimated the number of soldiers stationed in the region at more than 3,000.

“Almost 6,000 soldiers from the 16th, 18th and 12th Divisions serve on the Polish-Belarusian border,” Blaszczak tweeted Tuesday.

“The soldiers support the border guards by protecting the country’s border and preventing its illegal crossing. “

His announcement came after Polish border guards said there had been 612 attempts to cross the border on Monday.

Emergency state

The European Commission and Warsaw claim that the crossings from Belarus were orchestrated by Minsk as a form of hybrid warfare designed to pressure the European Union over its sanctions against the government of longtime President Alexander Lukashenko. Belarus has denied this.

Poland has declared a state of emergency in the region and plans to build a border wall.

The Polish parliament also passed a law which, according to human rights defenders, aims to legalize refoulements of refugees across its borders in violation of international law.

As of Sunday, there were around 9,600 undocumented attempts to cross the border in October, the Polish border guard said.

At least seven asylum seekers have died in the region since August, when the border crisis erupted. Polish police last week discovered a body they believed to be a 24-year-old Syrian in the area.

German authorities call for action

Human rights groups have criticized both Poland and Belarus for their treatment of asylum seekers.

There have been repeated accusations of illegal refoulements by Polish border forces and failure of the authorities to provide medical support, as well as adequate food and shelter.

More and more asylum seekers are also arriving in Germany, which borders Poland.

According to Polish media, the German authorities wish to temporarily restore border controls with Poland to stop the crossings.

Authorities in Brandenburg, the East German state that is home to most of the new arrivals, are calling for tougher action against Lukashenko’s government.


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