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Polish forces rescue stranded migrants at Belarus border

15.12.2021 11:45
Polish forces on Tuesday rescued four illegal migrants who were stranded in the swamps at the border with Belarus, amid reports that migrant pressure was easing, officials told reporters.  
Polish forces on Tuesday rescued four illegal migrants who were stranded in the swamps at the border with Belarus.
Polish forces on Tuesday rescued four illegal migrants who were stranded in the swamps at the border with Belarus.PAP/Jacek Szydłowski

Poland’s Border Guard agency tweeted that its servicemen, together with firefighters and members of the country's territorial army (WOT), rescued four illegal migrants of Syrian nationality who had become stuck in the border wetlands.

After an operation that lasted several hours, the migrants were located and evacuated from the swamps, with two of them subsequently taken to hospital, the Border Guard said.

The migrants were found in the extensive wetlands thanks to an unmanned aerial vehicle, the agency added.

Meanwhile, the WOT territorial defence force said in a statement that the rescue operation, which took place on Tuesday evening near the village of Michałowo, involved 19 of its personnel, who joined border guards and firefighters “in providing assistance to the migrants.”

WOT added that the three Syrian men and one woman, who had entered Poland illegally, were “lifted from the water, stretchered off to a safe location, covered with blankets and handed over to the medics, who transported them to a nearby hospital.”

“Due to low temperatures and with the migrants suffering the effects of cold, the rescue operation was a battle for their life and health,” WOT also said, adding that the  mission was completed by 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, around midnight, a group of 40 aggressive migrants attempted to breach the Polish border near the village of Czeremcha, the Border Guard said.

The group threw stones at Polish law enforcers, who detained several Syrian and Iraqi nationals, the agency added.

Migrant pressure eases

In all, there were 29 attempts to cross illegally from Belarus over the past 24 hours, the Border Guard reported.

The migrant pressure is diminishing, the agency added, noting that a few weeks earlier, the daily number of attempted crossings was reaching 700, with several large-scale attempted "incursions" recorded every night. 

Since the start of the year, there have been almost 40,000 illegal crossing attempts from Belarus, including 838 so far this month, the Border Guard agency's data showed.

In addition to new, stricter border protection rules, Poland is set to build a 5.5-metre-high, 180-kilometre-long protective wall along the frontier.

The protracted migrant crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border escalated last month, 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.


Source: IAR, PAP