1 of 3Photo: Adam Goose/Prime Minister Chancellery
Poland accuses neighboring Belarus of state terrorism by sending thousands of migrants to the border. Both sides of the conflict are also stepping up their military presence.
Poland has deployed more than 12,000 soldiers and border guards on the border with the neighboring country. On Monday, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of migrants and refugees tried to cross the border – under the auspices of Belarus.
On the Polish side, they were greeted Helicopters, tear gas and barbed wire. The situation remains very tense: Belarus encourages migrants to cross, while Poland says the border is “sacred” and will be defended by all means.
1 of 3Photo: Leonid Shiglov/Belta
During a press conference in Warsaw on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki accused Belarus of committing a form of state terrorism.
Morawiecki added that he believed the crisis was a “quiet revenge” on the Belarusian authorities for Poland’s support for the opposition in the country.
For months, Western authorities accused Belarus and President Alexander Lukashenko of transporting migrants from the Middle East to Belarus and then sending them across the borders of the European Union.
According to the European Union, the influx of refugees and migrants is in retaliation for sanctions imposed after Lukashenko cracked down on demonstrations and political dissent after last year’s elections.
Lukashenko has a completely different view of the conflict:
This week he won the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and both complained about “cruel treatment from the Polish side targeting peaceful people”, and expressed concern about the deployment of Polish military forces along the border.
Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki has said Putin is the mastermind behind the refugee crisis at the border with Belarus. Agence France-Presse wrote that he believed that Putin was trying to destabilize the European Union.
“Accusations that Russia is responsible are irresponsible and unacceptable,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Russia has backed the Lukashenko regime with guarantees and security loans that help keep Belarus’s taut economy afloat.
On Wednesday, Russia sent two strategic bombers into the airspace over Belarus, according to a statement Reuters.
1 of 3Photo: Milos Vikowski
becomes throwing balls
Migrants arrive at a closed border and end up throwing balls at the border. Here, a Polish freelance journalist from VG met three Syrian migrants in a forest near the village of Narewka last weekend.
– This is not a good way to get to Europe. But because we are from Syria and we cannot get a visa, this is the only way. So, while that’s too bad, there’s no better way, say all three.
Since the beginning of October, VG has reported the situation on the border between Poland and Belarus. Here are some reports:
Polish activist: – Metaphors of war
Natalie Berger, an activist for the Polish organization GreeneGruppen, told VG she was terrified.
The Polish government uses war metaphors, calling it an invasion when it’s actually a humanitarian crisis, says Berger.
Jan Egeland of the Norwegian Refugee Council says the ‘satirical game of human life’ on the Poland-Belarus border disgusting.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is asking Belarus and Poland to resolve the situation of desperate refugees.
“I am appalled that so many refugees and migrants have been left in a desperate situation in near-zero temperatures,” Bachelet said in a written statement.
It urges the authorities of the two countries to immediately reduce the level of conflict and resolve the situation.
Foreign Minister Annikin Heuitfeldt blames the Belarusian authorities for the migrant crisis at the border with Poland.
– I understand that Poland is in a very difficult situation, says Huitfeldt (Labor Party) to NTB.
Heitfeldt previously stated that Belarus bears full and complete responsibility for the influx of migrants to the borders with Poland and Lithuania. She believes that the Belarusian authorities are using people at risk as a tool of the press in foreign policy.
This is a sarcastic use of people. He declared that it was easy to get to Europe. Then you send them to the border. It is a game of human life. Huitfeldt says it puts a lot of people in a terrible situation.
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