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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poland sends more troops to guard Belarus border

19.10.2021 19:30
Almost 6,000 Polish soldiers are now guarding the country's border with Belarus, Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said on Tuesday, as the government steps up security measures to stem an inflow of migrants.
Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.
Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

"Almost 6,000 soldiers from the 16th, 18th and 12th divisions are serving on the Polish-Belarusian border," Błaszczak said in a tweet.

"The soldiers provide support to the Border Guard by protecting the country's border and not allowing it to be illegally crossed," he added.

Błaszczak last week put the military presence on Poland's border with Belarus at around 3,000 troops.

The Polish Border Guard said on Tuesday it had recorded 612 attempts to cross the frontier illegally the previous day. It added that its officers detained 11 migrants, 10 from Iraq and one from Turkey.

Three foreign nationals, "citizens of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Ukraine," were also detained for aiding illegal crossers, the Border Guard reported.

Polish lawmakers last week backed a government plan to build a wall on the country's border with Belarus in a bid to stave off an influx of migrants from the Middle East.

Late last month, the Polish lower house 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.

The European Commission and Warsaw say the flow of migrants has been orchestrated by Belarus as a form of hybrid warfare designed to put pressure on the European Union over sanctions it imposed on Minsk. Belarus has denied this, the Reuters news agency reported.

(gs)

Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters