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Thousands of illegal immigrants are now located along the Polish border

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7472   27 days ago
Anonymous | 35 subscribers
7472   27 days ago
Thousands of illegal immigrants are now located along the Polish border.

WARSAW — Poland beefed up security on its border with Belarus on Monday after reports that hundreds of migrants were heading toward the Kuźnica-Bruzgi border crossing.

The Polish interior ministry said one effort to cross the border on Monday was repulsed. Normal truck traffic through the border crossing was reportedly halted.

“We are prepared to defend Poland’s borders,” tweeted Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, who said that more than 12,000 troops have been sent to the border, up from an earlier 10,000. A video clip from the defense ministry showed hundreds of people gathered on the Belarusian side of the border fence.

The Polish government is due to hold a crisis meeting on Monday.

Poland, along with Lithuania and Latvia, has seen thousands of attempted border crossings since August — part of what’s being called “hybrid warfare” by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko. He is accused of trying to undermine the EU after Brussels imposed sanctions against him and his top allies in the wake of a brutal crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators following last year’s fraudulent presidential election.

People are flying to Minsk from the Middle East, and then reportedly being helped by Belarusian authorities to get to the border with the EU. The bloc’s efforts to clamp down on such flights have had limited success.

Poland has declared a state of emergency in a 3-kilometer-wide strip along its border with Belarus, preventing journalists from working there. That makes it difficult to ascertain what is happening in the zone, but there are many online reports of a large number of people moving toward the frontier.

“The biggest mass attempt at forcing the Polish border has just begun,” tweeted Stanisław Żaryn, a spokesperson for the Polish special services minister.

The State Border Committee of Belarus said a large group of refugees was moving along a motorway toward the Polish border.

“The Polish border guard has repeatedly stated that it pushes migrants in their thousands towards the border with Belarus. The refugees attempted this step of desperation due to the indifference and inhumane attitude of the Polish authorities,” representatives of the Belarusian border service told the state-controlled Belta news agency.

Poland has insisted on dealing with the crisis on its own, refusing offers of help from Frontex, the EU’s border agency which is headquartered in Warsaw.

“Frontex is 1,300 officials. The Polish Border Guard is 16,000, assisted by 10,000 soldiers and the police,” Maciej Wąsik, deputy interior minister tweeted.

The European Commission on Monday called the developments “worrying,” and a spokesperson said they “seem to be part of Lukashenko’s attempts to destabilize the EU and its member states and distract attention away from the continuous blatant disrespect of human rights and ongoing repression against the population in the country.”

Donald Tusk, leader of the opposition Civic Platform party, said Poland should get help from its NATO allies by invoking an article that calls for consultation if an alliance member’s territory is under threat.

Polish border guards say that since August 1, they have noted more than 30,000 attempts to illegally cross the border.
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