Migrants: strong tensions on the border between Poland and Belarus

Polish authorities warned on Monday (November 8) that hundreds of migrants from Belarus were trying to cross the border into Poland, the eastern edge of the European Union (EU). The latter accuses the Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko – who denies – of having orchestrated the arrival of a wave of migrants and refugees, mainly from the Middle East to try to enter the territory of the EU, in response to sanctions imposed by Brussels following its regime’s brutal crackdown on the opposition.

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Poland sent thousands of troops to the border, erected a razor-sharp barbed wire fence, and enforced a local state of emergency barring journalists from working. “A group of a few hundred people are heading towards the Kuznica border crossing. A group has already tried to cross the border ”Polish government spokesman Piotr Müller told reporters. According to him, this operation is organized “By persons linked to Belarusian special services”.

“The use of migrants by the regime [du président biélorusse Alexandre] Lukashenko as a hybrid tactic is unacceptable “, said in a statement an official of the Organization of the North Atlantic Treaty. And to add: “We are concerned about the recent escalation on the border between Poland and Belarus. We call on Belarus to comply with international law. “

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Part of the border fence destroyed

Since Monday morning, dozens of videos have been posted on social networks. The footage shows groups of hundreds of people, with warm clothes and backpacks, walking along a road. According to a geolocation made by the information verification service of Agence France-Presse, one of the videos was taken near buildings located in Bruzgi, Belarus, 1.2 km from the border with Poland. A video posted on Twitter by the Polish Defense Ministry reports hundreds of migrants massed along the border near the Kuznica-Bruzgi border post.

Another video released by the Home Office shows part of the border fence installed by Poland destroyed, with hundreds of migrants on one side and soldiers, Polish border guards and police in riot gear on the other. “Polish services prevented migrants from making their way on the Polish side south of the Kuznica border post. The situation was under control ”, the ministry said in the tweet.

For their part, Belarusian border guards confirmed in a statement on Monday: “Right now, a large group of refugees with personal belongings are moving along the highway towards the border with Poland. “

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Crisis unit

In Warsaw, a government crisis cell – attended by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and interior and defense ministers – met at 1 p.m. to discuss the situation. At least ten migrants have died in the region so far, including seven on the Polish side of the border, according to the country’s daily Gazeta Wyborcza.

Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya on Monday criticized President Alexander Lukashenko for orchestrating what she called“Hybrid attack” and called on the United Nations Security Council to react in a message posted on Twitter on Monday:

“Migrants are pushed to the border by armed men. Lukashenko is fully responsible for the hybrid attack on Poland, Lithuania and the European Union. Migrant smuggling, violence and abuse must end. A strong response is needed. #UNSC should discuss this crisis. “

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The World with AFP

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Migrants: strong tensions on the border between Poland and Belarus