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English Section

Poland says it has hard evidence of Russia’s hand in migrant crisis

14.10.2021 12:00
The spokesman for Poland's security-services chief on Thursday said there was hard evidence of Russian involvement in a growing migrant crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border, the state PAP news agency reported.
Stanisław Żaryn, the spokesman for Polands security-services chief, on Thursday said there was hard evidence of Russian involvement in a migrant crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border.
Stanisław Żaryn, the spokesman for Poland's security-services chief, on Thursday said there was hard evidence of Russian involvement in a migrant crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border.PAP/Piotr Nowak

Stanisław Żaryn told the Polish news agency that, “in our assessment, the migrant crisis is being orchestrated with huge support from the Russian Federation.”

He added that the issue “must be viewed in a wider context.”

Żaryn was also cited as saying that Russia was “manipulating gas prices to pressure the European Union into approving the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany as soon as possible.”

Moreover, Moscow is blackmailing Ukraine about gas supplies, pursuing the “Ghost Writer” hacking campaign and “spreading propaganda against Poland and NATO," Żaryn said.

'We have hard data on Russia’s involvement'

When it comes to the migrant crisis, Żaryn said, Russia is “one of the air transport hubs” from where a large part of the migrants are directed to the Polish-Belarusian border. 

“We have hard data on Russia’s involvement in what is going on, although Russia is determined not to be linked with this issue,” Żaryn stated, as quoted by the Polish news agency.

Asked about the proposed new barrier on the frontier, Żaryn responded it would be fitted with the latest electronic technology and therefore “much more difficult to surmount,” PAP reported.

It will also help manage border protection units, he added.

Migrants 'being fooled' by Belarus strongman

Meanwhile, Poland is set to step up its "information outreach" efforts in the migrants’ countries of origin, such as Iraq, Żaryn also told PAP.

This is "because these people are being fooled into thinking they will easily reach Germany or other western European states,” he said, adding that the migrants "are being cynically exploited by the Belarus leader, Alexander Lukashenko."

Żaryn said Lukashenko was "trying to exact revenge" on the European Union for sanctions against his country, but “we have resolved to reinforce the border and make it clear to him this drive to destabilise the situation will not succeed.”

However, Żaryn predicted that, with "some 14,000 migrants currently hosted by Belarus," the crisis “will continue to pose a challenge to Poland in the coming months.”

Poland and fellow EU members Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have accused Belarus' 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 Wednesday 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.

The bill to build a permanent wall on the Polish-Belarusian border is already in parliament, with PLN 500 million (EUR 109 million) allocated for the purpose, according to the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna newspaper. 

Late last month, 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.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAP