- BBC News World
The tension on the Polish-Belarusian border has escalated hour after hour.
The Polish government is repelled hundreds of migrants trying to enter the country through its eastern border, to which thousands more were en route. from inside Belarus.
Images broadcast through various media showed hundreds of people near a border fence made of barbed wire, which some were trying to break through.
Before this Poland deployed 12,000 soldiers and his government had an emergency meeting.
They accuse Belarus of inciting migrants to the border in a “hostile” act.
Poland, Lithuania and Latvia – three European Union (EU) countries– They say there has been an increase in the number of people trying to enter their countries irregularly from Belarus in recent months.
“I call on member states to pass once and for all the expanded sanctions regime against the Belarusian authorities responsible for this hybrid attack, “said the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen on Monday.
Many of the migrants come from countries in the Middle East and Asia.
How did you get to this point?
The EU has in recent months accused the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, to facilitate the influx of migrants to the borders of the bloc in retaliation for the sanctions it has received.
The economic sanctions on Belarus, which the United States and Canada have also joined, have come in the face of the repression of pro-democracy protests and the oppression of opposition leaders.
The government of Lukashenko rejects that it is a maneuver of his government and notes that the EU violates the rights of those seeking refuge.
Poland has also come under fire for its treatment of migrants and refugees at its border. The country has built a barbed wire fence before the massive arrival of people.
The Polish Border Guard also said it will close its border crossing with Belarus at Kuznica from Tuesday morning.
Conditions for migrants are so hostile that they threaten the lives of the people there. And with the arrival of winter, there are fears that women, men and children will not endure freezing temperatures.
As they were massively expelled from Poland, and with Belarus rejecting their re-entry, lthe migrants it’s foundn assetsyou and in the cold Polish forests. Several have died of hypothermia.
The head of the Polish National Security Council, Pawel Soloch, said he expected “groups of several hundred people” to suddenly resume crossing attempts.
“They know they are being used”
Barwa Nusreddine Ahmed, a brother of an Iraqi immigrant who was at the border with his wife and three children, spoke to the BBC.
He explained that his relatives arrived in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, last month and then headed to the border.
With little to eat or drink, the stranded people were suffering, Ahmed said.
He assured that the transfer to the border post it was planned on social media by the migrants themselves, as the Belarusian authorities were putting pressure on them.
“People know they are being used [por Lukashenko]But they have no future, “Ahmed said.
Tensions escalated on Monday when, according to videos posted on social media, a column of people, including women and children, was seen walking towards the Polish border in Belarus.
Other videos showed large numbers of migrants escorted by gunmen dressed in khaki.
Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk accused Belarus of trying to orchestrate a major incident near Kuznica Bialostocka, a town near the border, and warned of “a massive border crossing attempt”.
In other images you can see crowds of migrants trying to break through a barbed wire fence at the border, but the Polish border guards prevent them from passing.
A significant climb
By Paul Adams, BBC Diplomacy Correspondent
This is a significant escalation in a crisis that has been raging since the middle of the year.
For months, Belarus’s neighbors in the EU have been accusing the Lukashenko regime of “weaponizing” migration, in revenge for successive waves of EU sanctions on Minsk.
Migrants have related numerous stories about the role Belarusian soldiers played in helping them make illegal crossings into Poland and Lithuania.
Some cross in small groups, while others say they were transported to the border in military trucks and shown where to go.
But the latest images of the Polish border are unprecedented, recalling scenes from the border between Greece and Macedonia at the height of the 2015-2016 migration crisis.
The sheer concentration of people at a single crossing point, coupled with the presence of Belarusian soldiers, apparently doing nothing to stop the flow of migrants to the border, suggests that this is once again being orchestrated.
It is an accusation that Belarus denies.
Migrants seek “protection,” says Minsk
Minsk has accused neighboring countries that are in the EU of act against migrants looking for a safe place to live.
The Belarusian border guard agency told state media that more than 2,000 “refugees” had gathered in front of the Polish barriers.
They were heading to the EU “where they want to request protection”, according to the agency.
He accused Poland of using “unjustified” means to repel “persons seeking protection”.
On Monday, NATO said it is concerned about the “escalation” on the border with Poland and is ready to “maintain security in the region.”
Meanwhile in Lithuania, the government too mobilized his troops to the border with Belarus to prepare for a possible influx of migrants.
The government in Vilnius was considering declaring a state of emergency.
In response to Monday’s events, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called on EU member states to impose new sanctions against the Belarusian government, whom he accused of “putting people’s lives at risk.”
Meanwhile, the United States urged Lukashenko to “immediately stop his campaign of orchestration and coercion” of the illegal flow of migrants across his country’s border into Europe.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.