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English Section

Belarus officials open fire at Polish soldiers: Border Guard

08.10.2021 14:15
A group of Belarusian officials have fired shots at Polish soldiers helping protect the two countries' shared frontier, the Polish Border Guard announced on Friday.
Anna Michalska, spokeswoman for the Polish Border Guard, talks to reporters at a news conference in Warsaw on Friday.
Anna Michalska, spokeswoman for the Polish Border Guard, talks to reporters at a news conference in Warsaw on Friday.Photo: PAP/Piotr Nowak

Anna Michalska, spokeswoman for the Border Guard, told reporters the bullets were fired on Thursday and "were probably blank." 

“No one was hurt,” she said, as quoted by Poland's state PAP news agency. “Perhaps the shots missed deliberately."

"There are more and more such provocations," she added.

Referring to the situation of the migrants at the border, Michalska said 14 people, eight children and six adults, were currently in hospital.

“Yesterday we had two incidents where we had to call an ambulance to take care of two children,” Michalska told a news conference.

She elaborated that the Polish border force detained families with children, four of whom were subsequently admitted to hospital, two with cerebral palsy and one with COVID-19, while all four were additionally suffering from pneumonia.      

Nine Turkish nationals were also detained, Michalska said, among them five children.

“One of the boys has diabetes," she said, adding that "these children are also now in hospital."

Overall on Thursday, there were 523 attempts at illegal entry into Poland from Belarus, with 35 illegal migrants, all from Iraq, detained, together with five people who were aiding their efforts, Michalska told the PAP news agency.    

Since the start of August, Poland’s Border Guard has prevented some 15,000 illegal attempts to enter the country from Belarus. The agency’s detention facilities currently hold over 1,500 illegal immigrants, the rmf24.pl website reported.  

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Wednesday said his country enjoyed full support within the European Union as it worked to defend itself against a migrant influx and a "hybrid war" being waged by Belarus.

Poland and fellow EU members Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have accused Belarus' strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko of organising a wave of illegal migrants seeking to enter the bloc as part of what officials have called a "hybrid war."

The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, visited Poland last week, agreeing with Warsaw’s arguments that “firm steps” were needed against Belarus, according to officials.

Also last week, Polish lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to extend a state of emergency in parts of two regions along the country's eastern border with Belarus by two months amid a growing migrant surge.

The state of emergency gives authorities broader powers to monitor and control the movement of people on the Polish-Belarusian border, which is also the eastern border of the European Union.

(pm/gs)

Source: pap.plrmf24.pl