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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

'Further provocations' against Polish troops at Belarus border: defence ministry

05.11.2021 12:35
Poland's defence ministry on Friday accused Belarus of staging "further provocations" against Polish troops helping protect the European Union's external border, saying that a Belarusian soldier tried to fire a flare gun at Polish soldiers, while five armed Belarusians attempted to destroy the border fence.
Photo:
Photo:PAP/Artur Reszko

"Further provocations at the border. Yesterday, a Belarusian soldier tried to fire a flare gun towards Polish soldiers," the Polish defence ministry said in a tweet on Friday morning.

"Fortunately, the gun did not fire," it added.

The Polish defence ministry also tweeted that "100 meters away, five armed Belarusians tried to destroy the fence, shouting at the same time that they would shoot Polish soldiers."

"After summoning additional forces of Polish soldiers and the Border Guard, the Belarusians withdrew," the tweet also said.

Belarusian soldiers 'threatened to open fire'

A day earlier, the Polish defence ministry said that Belarusian soldiers guarding migrants threatened to open fire on Polish troops after "Polish soldiers located a group of around 250 migrants near the fence.

Poland's Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński on Thursday said that a planned protective wall on the country's border with Belarus would be built by the middle of next year to help fend off an influx of migrants from the Middle East.

Poland's interior minister said on Thursday that a planned protective wall on the country's border with Belarus would be built by the middle of next year to help fend off an influx of migrants from the Middle East. Poland's interior minister said on Thursday that a planned protective wall on the country's border with Belarus would be built by the middle of next year to help fend off an influx of migrants from the Middle East. Photo: PAP/Piotr Nowak

'Uniformed individuals armed with long guns'

Poland's foreign ministry said on Wednesday it had summoned the Belarusian chargé d'affaires after Belarus staged an armed intrusion into Polish territory in a deliberate escalation of a migrant crisis at the two countries' shared border.

The foreign ministry in Warsaw said in a statement at the time that "unidentified uniformed individuals armed with long guns" crossed into Poland from Belarus earlier this week.

Łukasz Jasina, spokesman for the Polish foreign ministry, told reporters that the Belarusian chargé d'affaires, Alexander Chesnovsky, and Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk discussed the incident, which happened in the early hours of Tuesday.

According to the Polish foreign ministry's statement, Wawrzyk "forwarded an emphatic protest ... against the violation of the Polish state border, emphasising that the actions taken by the Belarusian authorities in recent weeks have the increasingly evident hallmarks of a deliberate escalation."

'Hybrid war'

Poland and the Baltic states have accused Belarus's strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko of organising a wave of illegal migrants seeking to enter the bloc as part of what officials have called a "hybrid war."

The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, visited Poland in late September, agreeing with Warsaw’s arguments that “firm steps” were needed against Belarus, according to officials.

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last month that his country enjoyed full support within the European Union as it worked to defend itself against a migrant influx and a "hybrid war" being waged by Belarus.

In late September, Polish lawmakers 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.

(gs)

Source: IAR, PAP, tvp.info