English Section

UPDATE: Polish soldier stabbed at Belarus border, PM to visit site

28.05.2024 22:00
In a violent clash at the Poland-Belarus border early on Tuesday, a Polish soldier  from the 1st Warsaw Armored Brigade was stabbed with a makeshift spear by migrants attempting to breach the barrier, officials said, sharing more details of the incident.
Photo:Polish Border Guard/x.com/Straz_Graniczna

The private, who was injured while using a shield to block a gap in the fencing, received immediate medical attention and is reported to be in stable condition following surgery.

The soldier's injuries, though serious, were not life-threatening, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

The District Prosecutor's Office has categorized the incident near the eastern village of Dubicze Cerkiewne as attempted murder.

Migrants also hurled stones and branches during the attack, as shown in a social media video circulated by Poland's Border Guard agency.

Rising challenges at the border

The attack occurred amid increasing migration pressures and aggression in the area, Deputy Interior Minister Czesław Mroczek told Polish Radio on Tuesday morning.

He highlighted the rising challenges at the border, exacerbated by organized large-scale attempts to cross, apparently supported by Belarusian forces.

Mroczek said that the Belarusian government's involvement in these migration issues poses a significant diplomatic and security challenge.

Mroczek accused Belarus of not only turning a blind eye but actively facilitating the movement of migrants to the Polish border as a form of hybrid warfare aimed at destabilizing the region.

Belarusian forces assisting illegal border crossers

Andrzej Jóźwiak, media liaison spokesperson for the Border Guard, confirmed an increase in aggressive behavior by migrants at the Poland-Belarus border.

He detailed incidents where people threw stones, branches, and even flaming timber at Polish patrols, and attempted to set fire to border signs.

Jóźwiak also highlighted that border officers have had to confiscate dangerous objects from migrants, such as sticks with knives attached and clubs with nails.

He told reporters that Belarusian forces were assisting people in their illegal border crossings.

"We clearly see that the Belarusian services are helping foreigners during attempts to cross the border, and these migrants are equipped with tools to help them breach the border," he said.

PM to inspect border

Responding to the escalated aggression, Prime Minister Donald Tusk is scheduled to visit the border to assess the situation and ensure the safety of the border forces.

The situation at the border has been described as increasingly aggressive, with migrants attempting to force their way through in large groups, emboldened by the support of Belarusian services.

The Polish government is responding with reinforced measures, including a second fence and enhanced monitoring, as well as the deployment of combat units and armored vehicles.

Authorities have called for public donations of blood to aid the injured, highlighting the severity of the confrontation.

The ongoing aggression is being described as an orchestrated action by Belarusian and Russian forces, compounding the challenge faced by Polish border officials.

Thousands of attempts to cross into Poland

According to the Border Guard, over 13,000 people have attempted to illegally cross into Poland from Belarus this year, with a noticeable increase in recent days.

Observers attribute this to Russia increasing pressure on European Union countries ahead of the upcoming EU elections.

This latest incident further intensifies the already strained relations between Poland and Belarus, as the government in Warsaw continues to advocate for stronger international measures to address these acts.

The Polish government's efforts to enhance border security include deploying additional physical and electronic barriers and surveillance systems.


Source: PAP, polskieradio24.pl