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English Section

Poland to deploy more troops to Belarus border as migrant pressure grows: officials

11.10.2021 19:00
More soldiers are set to be deployed to Poland's border with Belarus amid record numbers of illegal attempts to enter the country, officials announced on Monday. 
More Polish soldiers are set to be deployed to the frontier with Belarus, amid record numbers of illegal attempts to enter the country, officials announced on Monday.
More Polish soldiers are set to be deployed to the frontier with Belarus, amid record numbers of illegal attempts to enter the country, officials announced on Monday. PAP/Artur Reszko

Anna Michalska, spokeswoman for Poland’s Border Guard, told a news conference that 2,500 troops were helping protect the frontier, and there were plans to send in reinforcements.

“We are in contact with the Defence Ministry,” Michalska said, without giving details of the size of the additional contingent, the state PAP news agency reported.

“We had the highest-ever number of attempts at illegal entry on Saturday, more than 700, and almost 2,000 over the past three days,” Michalska told reporters

She added that Polish officials had detained 15 people for supporting such illegal attempts to cross the frontier.

Michalska also said the Border Guard had tweeted a video of “an attempt at a forced entry into Poland,” adding that such incidents were “extremely difficult for border officials and soldiers.”

Some of the illegal entrants managed to break through, but border officials received help from nearby patrols, the PAP news agency reported.

It said none of the detained persons sought international protection in Poland. 

Michalska told reporters that 19 illegal crossers, including six children, were hospitalised.

“Some of these children have pneumonia," she said. "There is also one case of cerebral palsy, and a few others have colds and hypothermia."

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."

Poland and the Baltic states have accused Belarus of using migrants as a political weapon to put pressure on the European Union. Poland and the Baltic states have accused Belarus of using migrants as a political weapon to put pressure on the European Union. Image: gov.pl

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

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last Wednesday 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.

Late last month, 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: PAPgov.pl