Crisis deepens at Polish-Belarusian border as migrants gather and troops are mobilized – .

Crisis deepens at Polish-Belarusian border as migrants gather and troops are mobilized – .

(vitag.Init = window.vitag.Init || []).push(function () { viAPItag.display(“vi_1088641796”) })

During the last week-long migration crisis at the border, the head of the Polish border guard said groups of people were trying to cross the border on Monday evening.

“The situation at the border is difficult. More and more groups of migrants are being driven to the border. Attempts are being made to force the border, ”said Ewelina Szczepańska, adding that she was convinced that Polish forces could handle the situation.

The Polish Defense Ministry said on Twitter earlier Monday that “a group of migrants is currently near Kuznica”. The message was accompanied by aerial footage showing large crowds gathering on the Belarusian side of the border. The ministry later added that: “Currently, migrants have set up a camp in the Kuznica region. They are constantly guarded by the Belarusian services.

Polish border guard headquarters spokesman Michał Tokarczyk told CNN: “Belarusian services are moving large groups of migrants to the Polish border. We await their new move and we are ready for any scenario. “

In a follow-up statement, Tokarczyk clarified that there are currently around 4,500 border guards and around 9,500 Polish army soldiers stationed at the border as “a group of several thousand migrants head for the border. Polish border ”.

Belarus’ State Border Committee, which is responsible for the country’s external borders, said migrants near the border want to enter Poland as refugees and do not pose a security threat.

An increasing number of people have crossed the Polish border illegally from Belarus in recent weeks. According to Tokarczyk, since August more than 30,000 migrants have tried to enter the country.

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has previously been accused of provoking a migrant crisis at the border by the prime ministers of neighboring Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, which led Poland to pass a bill in October for the construction of ‘a wall along its border with Belarus.

EU officials have also accused Belarus of encouraging people to enter Poland and its other neighbors in the European Union illegally, as part of efforts to pressure the bloc over the sweeping sanctions it has imposed. imposed in Minsk in June. EU, US and UK sanctions were a coordinated response to the Lukashenko government’s forced landing of a Ryanair flight and the arrest of an opposition journalist on board , as well as the “continued repression” in the former Soviet state.

Border crisis crisis

In another tweet on Monday, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said thousands of soldiers were “ready to defend the Polish border.”

“More than 12,000 people are on duty at the border… We have raised the state of alert,” Blaszczak wrote.

Meanwhile, the Polish Territorial Defense Forces also said in a tweet that they were raising the alert level to support border guards, adding: “Soldiers! Check your equipment and communication equipment, inform your employers and families. “

Belarus floods EU with migrants, removing page from Putin's playbook

Poland’s Interior and Administration Ministry said earlier on Twitter that migrants on the Belarusian side had so far been arrested on Monday and the situation in Kuznica was under control.

He posted a video showing Polish policemen and other armed personnel standing near a barbed wire fence, with the migrants on the Belarusian side. Meanwhile, an urgent government crisis meeting has been called amid mounting tensions, according to the Interior Ministry.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on Facebook: “The border of the Republic of Poland is not just a map line. It is sacred – the blood of Poles has flowed for generations to protect it!

Lithuania – which shares a border with Poland and Belarus – has said it is redeploying its troops as tensions continue to escalate, according to the Lithuanian National Border Guard Service and reported by LRT, the Lithuanian public broadcaster. .

“We are preparing for all possible scenarios,” the public broadcaster said quoting Rustamas Liubajevas, the head of the Lithuanian border guards.

A photo taken on Monday shows migrants at the Belarusian-Polish border in the Grodno region. A photo taken on Monday shows migrants at the Belarusian-Polish border in the Grodno region.

Belarusian opposition leader in exile, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, urged the EU and the United Nations to react firmly.

“The Belarusian regime is worsening the border crisis – migrants are being pushed to the EU border by armed men,” she tweeted. “Migrant smuggling, violence and abuse must stop. “

Belarusian reaction

The government of Belarusian President Lukashenko has repeatedly denied creating a migrant crisis, accusing the West of crossings and treatment of migrants. CNN has contacted the Belarusian government for comment.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov defended Minsk’s handling of the migrant issue on Monday, saying Belarus was taking all necessary steps to act legally.

The Belarusian State Borders Committee also said in a statement on Facebook: “Foreigners who are near the border with Poland declare their intention to enter the territory of a neighboring country and exercise their right to apply for refugee status in the EU. All of these people, including women and children, do not pose a security threat and do not behave aggressively. ”

Migrants approach a barbed wire fence along the Belarusian-Polish border. Migrants approach a barbed wire fence along the Belarusian-Polish border.

The Belarusian State Border Committee added that it did not exclude a provocation on the part of Poland. “In view of the statements of Polish officials on the concentration of armed forces and equipment near the border, we do not exclude provocative actions by the Polish side aimed at justifying the use of physical force and special means against the refugees. “

In a subsequent statement, the Committee added: “The situation on the Belarusian-Polish border remains extremely tense. More than 2,000 refugees, including a significant number of women and children, find themselves in front of the Polish barriers along the border… Refugees on several occasions tried to inform the Polish side that they had left their country because their life was in danger.

He then accused the Polish security forces of deploying tear gas on the migrants and of using “aviation to exert psychological pressure”, which led some of them to attack Polish barriers.

Charities say migrants face grueling conditions trying to cross the border from Belarus in freezing weather with a lack of food and medical care.

Polish authorities said seven migrants were found dead on the Polish side of the border, with reports of other deaths in Belarus.

Humanitarian groups also accuse the ruling nationalists in Poland of violating international asylum rights by pushing migrants back to Belarus instead of accepting their requests for protection. Poland says its actions are legal.

CNN’s Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Allegra Goodwin, and Eliza Mackintosh contributed to this report.

(vitag.Init = window.vitag.Init || []).push(function () { viAPItag.display(“vi_1088641796”) })


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here