Saturday 20 November 2021
Minsk – (AFP)
Poland said Saturday that Belarus has changed its tactics in dealing with the border crisis between the two countries, with smaller groups of migrants heading towards several points along the eastern European Union border.
Despite indications that the crisis has eased, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said he expected the border crisis to be prolonged.
The Polish border guards announced new attempts to cross by several groups of dozens of migrants, while a crowd of 200 people threw stones and tear gas canisters.
“We have to prepare for the fact that this problem will continue for months. I have no doubt that this will happen,” Blaschak told RMFFM radio.
“A somewhat new method is currently being followed by immigrants and the Belarusian apparatus. Smaller groups of people are trying to cross the border from many places,” he added.
“There is no doubt that these attacks are directed by the Belarusian apparatus,” he added.
The West accuses Belarus of creating the crisis by bringing in migrants, mostly from the Middle East, and transporting them to the borders, based on promises to facilitate their crossing into the European Union.
Belarus has denied the accusations and criticized the European Union for refusing to take in the migrants.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told the BBC on Friday that it was “highly likely” that his forces had helped people cross into the European Union, but denied that Minsk had orchestrated the operation.
“We are Slavs, we have hearts, our forces know that the migrants are heading to Germany…maybe someone helped them,” he said.
“But I didn’t invite them to come here,” he added.
procession and funeral
Indications this week appeared that the severity of the crisis began to subside after hundreds of migrants were returned to Iraq, while another 2,000 migrants moved from a temporary border camp to a nearby warehouse.
The Polish border guards service reported 195 crossing attempts on Friday.
“82 foreigners have been ordered to leave Polish territory. Two Ukrainians and one German were arrested for aiding and abetting” the migrants, he tweeted on Saturday.
He pointed out that there were several attempts to cross in an area in the village of Dubeks Zirkvini (east).
The agency added that “the largest group consisted of about 200 foreigners, while dozens were among each of the other groups.”
“The foreigners were aggressive, they threw stones and firecrackers and used tear gas,” he added.
The migrants abandoned all their possessions in their home countries and spent thousands of dollars to head to Belarus on tourist visas, intent on making their way to the European Union.
The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatović, described the humanitarian situation at the border as “alarming” and called for an end to Poland’s controversial operations to return migrants to Belarus.
“I have heard firsthand the harrowing testimonies of the extreme suffering of desperate people. They spent weeks or even months in squalid and extremely difficult conditions in the cold and damp forests as a result of these deportations,” she said in a statement.
“All deportations must stop immediately,” she added.
It is scheduled that Polish mothers will organize a march in defense of the rights of immigrants, Saturday, in the town of Hainovka (east).
Polish media have reported that at least 11 migrants have died since the crisis began during the summer.
This week, Poland held its first burial for an immigrant, a Syrian teenager who drowned in the border river Buk. There will be two more funerals this weekend.