I.n the refugee conflict that has been going on for weeks, Poland has accused the leadership in Belarus of changing strategies at the common border. “Smaller groups of people are trying to cross the border in many places,” Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak told RMF FM on Saturday. There is “no question that these attacks are being controlled by the Belarusian authorities”. He spoke of “a new method”.
Polish border guards also reported on Saturday that several small groups tried to cross the border. A few dozen people were involved in each case. However, the security forces also reported a larger group of around 200 people who were armed with tear gas, fireworks and stones.
German citizen arrested at the border
According to their own statements, the Polish authorities registered a total of 195 attempts at illegal border crossings on Friday. “82 foreigners were asked to leave Polish territory. Two Ukrainian citizens and one German citizen were arrested for aiding and abetting, ”said the border guards on Twitter on Saturday.
“We have to be prepared for the fact that this problem will continue for months. I have no doubt that it will, ”said Blaszczak. The EU accuses Belarusian ruler Alexandr Lukashenko of deliberately smuggling refugees into the border area with the EU – in retaliation for sanctions against his country. Minsk rejects the allegations.
Lukashenko told the BBC on Friday that it was “absolutely possible” that Belarusian armed forces would have helped migrants enter the EU, but denied organizing the operation. “We are Slavs. We have a heart. Our troops know that the migrants want to go to Germany. Maybe someone helped them, ”he said. “But I didn’t invite you here.”
Migrants stranded in the border area and returning to Iraq from Belarus report severe abuse. The people were beaten and tortured by Polish and Belarusian police officers, several victims from the Kurdish autonomous regions in Iraq told the dpa news agency.
Poland pulls together 15,000 security guards
A 38-year-old from Dohuk said he was mistreated and later forcibly deported from Belarus. In addition, he and other migrants had neither water nor food. Despite his disappointment in the countries of Europe, the Iraqi wants to try again to get there.
For weeks, thousands of refugees from the Middle East, including many Kurds from Iraq, have been stuck in the Belarusian-Polish border region in increasingly icy temperatures. Poland has erected a border fence and gathered more than 15,000 security guards at the border.
This week, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) phoned Lukashenko twice about the refugee crisis. Because of this, criticism came from many quarters, including from the Belarusian opposition. “The Chancellor spoke to a terrorist. She shouldn’t have done that, ”said Michael Rubin, coordinator of the Belarusian“ People’s Embassy ”to the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The opposition politician Pawel Latuschka criticized the fact that Lukashenko was recognized as president. The migration crisis is an “example of international terrorism”. Merkel was the first Western head of government to speak to Lukashenko on the phone since the controversial re-election of Lukashenko last year.
#Refugee #crisis #Poland #accuses #Belarus #changing #strategy #border