Poland - Belarus refugee crises

Poland accuses Belarus of bringing migrants to its border.

Poland on Sunday accused Belarus of continuing to transport migrants to its border, despite camps being cleaned up near the border earlier this week. This is as the country’s prime minister began a tour of the Baltic states to seek support in the crisis. Europe accuses Belarus of bringing in thousands of people from the Middle East and forcing them on the European Union, which disagreed with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko after the disputed elections last year. 

Minsk, which denies fueling the crisis, cleared a migrant camp near the border on Thursday and began repatriating some people to Iraq in what appears to be a change of course in the conflict that has turned into an East-West dispute. Poland says Minsk continues to transport hundreds of migrants to the border, where a dozen migrants are believed to have died in the freezing winter. The Polish services on Saturday prevented the passage of a group of hundreds of aggressive foreigners, brought to the border by Belarusian soldiers as they tried to enter Poland by force. There were 501 recorded attempts by migrants to enter Poland from Belarus on Wednesday, the border guard said. 208 attempts were recorded on Saturday, slightly more than on Friday. 44 migrants were refused entry into the neighbouring country, Lithuania, on Saturday – the lowest number recorded in the week. A dozen Iraqi migrants, speaking to the Lithuanian information portal DELFI across the border with Belarus,  said they were forcibly taken in military trucks by Belarusian officials, who ignored their desire to return to Iraq. 

On Sunday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki visited Estonia to discuss the crisis with his counterpart Kaja Kallas. Later in the tour, he is expected to travel to Lithuania and Latvia. Morawiecki said war is being waged in which migrants and disinformation are the weapons adding that new economic sanctions against Minsk were being discussed. An SW Research poll published on Sunday by the Rzeczpospolita newspaper showed that 55.1% of Poles fear the border crisis could escalate into regular armed conflict.  However, hundreds of people took part in the protests in Warsaw on Saturday near the Belarusian border to ask for help for the migrants.

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