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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

New migrant attempts to cross Polish border from Belarus: officials

30.11.2021 13:30
There were two attempts to "forcibly cross into Poland from Belarus" overnight as migrants continued to seek illegal entry into the European Union, Polish officials said on Tuesday. 
Polands Border Guard agency on Tuesday said it had recorded 134 illegal crossing attempts from Belarus over the previous 24 hours.
Poland's Border Guard agency on Tuesday said it had recorded 134 illegal crossing attempts from Belarus over the previous 24 hours.PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Poland's Border Guard agency tweeted that "aggressive groups of foreign nationals tried to breach the border near the villages of Mielnik and Szudziałów."

Border Guard spokeswoman Anna Michalska told reporters that at around 6 p.m. on Monday, some 70 people attempted to cross into Poland near Mielnik, throwing stones and flashing lights at Polish border personnel.

She added that the group was accompanied by "people in uniforms, who also threw rocks." 

A total of "58 people, 52 Iraqis and six Turkish nationals, managed to encroach a few metres into Polish territory, but were then escorted back to the border," Michalska said. 

Later, at around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday, "a few very aggressive persons" tried to force their way through the border near Szudziałów, Michalska told the media, as cited by the state PAP news agency.

According to Polish officials, the group threw stones and metal posts from the border fencing, while also flashing lights and pelting Polish patrol officers with fire crackers. 

"We also spotted one person, probably a Belarusian soldier, who attempted to cut through the razor wire," Michalska said, adding that the group did not cross the border and nobody was hurt in either of the two incidents. 

Border tensions

Meanwhile, Poland's defence ministry on Tuesday reported via Twitter that "yesterday our forces were yet again pelted with rocks by Belarusians, this time near the village of Tokary."

The ministry posted a video that it said showed Polish forces being blinded by a green-laser beam, with various objects being thrown at them from behind the border fence.

Stanisław Żaryn, the spokesman for Poland's security services, said that in recent days, "there have been fewer attacks on our border," but smaller groups of illegal migrants continued to try and break through during the night.

"They are still being strongly supported by Belarusian services," he added.

Migrant pressure

Poland's Border Guard said it had thwarted a total of 134 illegal attempts to cross from Belarus over the past 24 hours.

Since the start of the year, there have been almost 40,000 illegal crossing attempts from Belarus, including more than 8,000 in November alone, the border 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.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAP