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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Further migrant unrest at Belarus border: Polish officials

22.11.2021 12:15
Poland's Border Guard on Monday said that a group of 150 people tried to cross illegally into the country from Belarus overnight, amid an ongoing migration crisis at the eastern frontier of the European Union.  
Audio
Polands Border Guard says it has thwarted a fresh group attempt to cross illegally from Belarus overnight.
Poland's Border Guard says it has thwarted a fresh group attempt to cross illegally from Belarus overnight. PAP/Wojciech Olkuśnik

Anna Michalska, the spokeswoman for the Border Guard, told reporters that the attempt began at around 7 p.m. on Sunday, near the Polish village of Dubicze Cerkiewne. 

A group of "150 aggressive people" started "throwing rocks and flashing torch lights and laser beams at Polish border personnel," and then tried to mount the razor-wire border fence, Michalska said.

She added nobody was hurt as 70 migrants managed to briefly break into Polish territory, but were "swiftly detained" and turned back.

"Everything took place under the supervision of Belarusian officials, who were flashing their torches at us, as they encouraged and helped these people to cross the border," Michalska also said, as cited by the state PAP news agency

The Polish frontier agency posted a night-time video on its social media that showed a group of people with backpacks huddled in a forest near the fence on Poland's border with Belarus.

Elsewhere along the border, there were individual attempts to throw stones at Polish border forces, Michalska told reporters.

Migrants, Belarusian forces 'increasingly aggressive': spokesman

Meanwhile, Stanisław Żaryn, a spokesman for Poland's security services, tweeted that "Belarusian officials continue to escort aggressive foreigners to our border" and help them cross illegally into Poland.

Both the migrants and Belarusian security forces "are increasingly aggressive," Żaryn added.

The Polish defence ministry shared a video that it said showed "drunken Belarusians, equipped with weapons" on duty at the border.

"This is not the first such case that our soldiers have encountered," the Polish defence ministry said.

Żaryn commented: "For many days, we have been observing the Belarusians acting in a way so as to provoke a dangerous border incident."

Border tensions

Poland's Border Guard said on Monday it had recorded 346 illegal attempts to cross from Belarus over the past 24 hours, public broadcaster Polish Radio's IAR news agency reported.

Since the start of the year, over 36,000 such attempts have been recorded, including close to 7,000 this month alone, the agency's data showed.

Since September 2, Poland has kept the border zone under a state of emergency amid continuing migrant pressure. It is also set to build a 5.5-metre-high, 180-kilometre-long protective wall along the frontier.

The months-long migrant crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border has escalated in recent weeks, with Poland, the European Union and its member states, as well as NATO and the United States accusing Belarus strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko of orchestrating the standoff in retaliation for Western sanctions against his regime.

Click on the "Play" button above to listen to an audio report by Tomasz Ferenc.

(pm/gs)

Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info