Poland-Belarus border clash exacerbates pressure from hundreds of migrants at EU gates | International

The Polish government warned on Monday about the massive arrival of migrants at the border with Belarus. According to the Polish border guard, hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers headed for the Polish border in an attempt to enter the territory of the European Union. “The group is under the control of armed Belarusians. It is they who decide in which direction to move,” said the press secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Stanislav Zaryn, in a message on his Twitter account. The situation also provoked a reaction from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who demanded that the Belarusian regime “stop endangering people’s lives.” “The instrumentalization of immigrants by Belarus is unacceptable,” continued the head of the European bloc.

Countries bordering Belarus and the European Union accuse the Minsk regime of organizing human trafficking in response to sanctions imposed by Brussels. And it looks like these sanctions will be expanded. In a statement released this afternoon, von der Leyen announced that he was “talking with the leaders of member states about extending sanctions against the Belarusian authorities.” In addition, she warned that she was evaluating “how to impose sanctions, even through blacklists, on airlines from third countries that are actively involved in human trafficking.”

Several videos released by Polish authorities show hundreds of migrants gathered at the barbed wire fence separating the two countries. From the Belarusian side, the noise of immigrants and refugees was heard. On the Polish side, against the backdrop of mounting tension, the police and soldiers were looking at those in front of them. In one of the videos, the object crossed a wire fence and landed between the security forces, who defended themselves with shields and weapons.

“Very disturbing information is coming from the border,” a spokesman for Zarin said. “In Belarus, near the Polish border, an important group of immigrants has gathered. […] They will massively try to penetrate Poland,” he warned in the morning. “Polish services are ready for any surprises,” said Deputy Interior Minister Maciej Wasik. The videos, also tweeted by Belarusian opposition network Nexta, show hundreds of people wearing winter coats and carrying backpacks walking down the road. According to the news agency France Pressone of the recordings was made near the border town of Bruzgi in Belarus, 1.2 km from the Polish border.

The situation caused not just a verbal reaction of the European Commission. Von der Leyen also said that in the coming days, Vice President Margaritis Schinas “will contact the main countries of transit and origin in consultation with High Representative Josep Borrell.” [dos imigrantes] make sure that these countries do not allow their citizens to fall into the trap of the Belarusian authorities.”

Poland declared a state of emergency in September in two provinces bordering Belarus to stop the flow of illegal migrants, which it attributes to direct action by the government of Alexander Lukashenko. Lithuania and Latvia have also taken steps to strengthen their borders for the same reason. According to the Minister of the Interior of the Baltic country, after the incident on the Polish border, Lithuania on Monday announced the deployment of troops to the border with Belarus to prepare for a possible influx of migrants.

Meanwhile, Lukashenka’s regime is stepping up its campaign to blame Poland for an immigration crisis on its borders. The Belaya Rus platform, created by the president in 2007 to support his figure in civil society, is a guarantee that the Belarusian government will fulfill all its obligations. On its territory, according to him, “there are no problems with immigrants.” This platform accuses the Polish government of “a total violation of the values ​​and commitments it promised to fulfill when it joined the European Union in 2004.” “I want to recall the Dublin Agreement, according to which the Polish side should not use force or the army, but accept the requests of immigrants and analyze how they meet the criteria for granting asylum as refugees,” said political scientist Piotr Petrovsky. sites, the Belta agency.

“A new hybrid form of international terrorism”

The head of the State Border Committee of Belarus calls on immigrants brought from the Middle East to join the public bloc. “All these people, including women and children, do not pose a threat to security, behave well,” added Anton Byczkowski, who also hinted that Poland “may concoct a provocation to justify the use of force” against migrants.

The use of foreigners as a weapon of pressure dates back to the middle of the year, during the European summer, when Lukashenko’s government began ferrying out immigrants from the Middle East to send them to Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, countries with which Minsk is in conflict. The opposition People’s Anti-Crisis Administration considers this a mistake of the regime. The committee, led from exile in Poland by former minister Pavel Latushka, believes the crisis will increase pressure on the dictatorship as Lukashenka “instrumentally uses human lives to achieve his political goals.” “The time has come to ask the democratic world to recognize Lukashenka as an international terrorist,” Latushka told EL PAÍS.

This use of foreigners “is a new hybrid form of international terrorism” whose ultimate goals “are to maintain power and destabilize the European Union,” adds the former minister. “Instead of calling an ambulance, everyone is waiting for the planned hospitalization of the patient,” laments Latushka, referring to international inaction towards the regime after the crackdown on demonstrations against fraud in the elections in mid-2020. “Lukashenko is heading for a military conflict on the border with the European Union , but will sell to the whole world the image of the humanitarian crisis caused by the Europeans. This is a kind of Nazi-era propaganda,” he adds. According to the opposition, the solution is for the international community not to recognize Lukashenko’s government, which has been in power for 27 years, and to impose very harsh sanctions on him “for unleashing a hybrid attack.”

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