Poland fears ‘major incident’ as migrants from Belarus head for border: Reuters
Polish authorities accused Belarus of trying to spark a major confrontation on Monday as footage on social media showed hundreds of migrants walking towards the Polish border, Reuters reports
❗️A large group of migrants is moving towards the #Polish border pic.twitter.com/XeNn9Q7flm— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) November 8, 2021
Other videos showed large groups of migrants sitting by the road and being escorted by armed men dressed in khaki.
“Belarus wants to cause a major incident, preferably with shots fired and casualties: according to media reports, they are preparing a major provocation near Kuznica Bialostocka, that there will be an attempt at a mass border crossing,” Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk told Polish public radio.
Piotr WawrzykPiotr Wawrzyk. Photo: PR24/MSA deputy interior minister, Maciej Wąsik, tweeted that “Polish authorities are ready for any scenario”.
Na granicy w Kuźnicy jest @Straz_Graniczna , @PolskaPolicja i Wojsko Polskie. Polskie służby są przygotowane na wszelkie okoliczności.— Maciej Wąsik 🇵🇱 (@WasikMaciej) November 8, 2021
The European Union has accused Belarus of encouraging thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa to cross into EU countries via Belarus, as a form of hybrid warfare in revenge for Western sanctions on Minsk over human rights abuses.
Ok, this is the most disturbing border video I’ve seen so far. Lukashenko’s armed thugs dressed like ISIS militants are quite literally pushing women and children over the Polish border fence and forming a human shield to prevent them from returning to Belarus.
Please RT! pic.twitter.com/WzvpLmHzhz— Tadeusz Giczan (@TadeuszGiczan) November 7, 2021
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s government has repeatedly denied manufacturing a migrant crisis, blaming the West for the crossings and the treatment of migrants at the border.
The Belarusian state border committee issued a statement confirming that a large group of refugees was moving along the highway to the Polish border, and saying Warsaw was taking an “inhumane attitude”.
The EU, the United States and Britain imposed sanctions on Belarus after Lukashenko unleashed a violent crackdown on mass protests following a disputed election last year.
Charities say the migrants face gruelling conditions while trying to cross the border from Belarus, enduring freezing weather and a lack of food, water and medical attention.
Polish authorities say at least seven dead migrants have been found on Poland’s side of the border, with unverified reports of more deaths in Belarus.
Humanitarian groups accuse Poland’s ruling nationalists of violating the international right to asylum by pushing migrants back into Belarus instead of accepting their applications for protection. Poland says its actions are legal.
Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Facebook that “the Polish border is not just a line on a map. The border is sacred – Polish blood has been spilled for it!”.