Eastern Europe

Migrant crisis: Hundreds of people gather at Poland-Belarus border

09:15, 09 November 2021
Migrant crisis: Hundreds of people gather at Poland-Belarus border Photo: Ammar Safarjalani/Xinhua/Global Look Press

On Monday, hundreds of people gathered at the Bruzgo-Kuznits border crossing check point at the Polish-Belarusian border. 

This is the largest influx since the beginning of the migration crisis between Minsk and its western neighbors. The Belarusian authorities once again accused Warsaw of inhumanity as the Polish Defense Ministry announced its readiness to defend the border by force.

On November 8, the Polish Ministry of Defense Mariusz Blaszczak published aerial footage showing hundreds of people crowded at the Kuznitsa checkpoint (a checkpoint on the Polish side). The head of the Polish military department, Blaszczak, said that Polish soldiers were on duty at the border in combat readiness.

"More than 12,000 people are on duty at the border. We raised the state of alert," Blaszczak wrote.

A big number of people have been illegally crossing Poland's border from Belarus in recent days. It’s been reported that more than 30,000 migrants have attempted to enter the country.

A crowd of migrants has moved to the Polish border along the highway with their belongings, accompanied by people in uniform. According to the Belarus media, the migrants set up a staging post in the forests near the border.

The migrants have already tried to cut barbed wire, but the Polish border police have used tear gas.

The Belarus State Border Committee also said in a Facebook statement: "Foreigners who are near the border with Poland declare their intention to enter the territory of a neighboring country and exercise their right to apply for refugee status in the EU. All of these people, including women and children, do not pose a security threat and do not behave aggressively."

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has previously been blamed for triggering a migrant crisis on the border by the leaders of neighbors Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania. 

On October 28, the deputy of the Belarusian parliament Andrei Savinykh confirmed that Belarusian travel agencies and the Foreign Ministry issue visas to visitors from the countries of the Middle East and Africa.

“That’s true, we are not talking about migrants, but about ordinary tourists," explained Savinykh. The part of that tourists can try to cross the border with Poland and Lithuania, the deputy added.

The NATO officials called the situation "unacceptable" and accused Lukashenko of "using" migrants as a "hybrid tactic".

Belarus also has been accused of transporting people from Middle East and dumping them at EU borders.

In addition, Poland adopted a bill in October to construct a 2-meter high barbed-wire wall to halt the uncontrolled migration of Syrian or Afghan citizens trying to cross the Polish border from Belarus territory.

However, Poland has been criticized for not accepting migrants and not providing proper health care at the border. The Polish government denied accusations and said that they were not responsible for the Belarusian actions.