Europe

Poland accuses Belarus of using migrants to pressure them, EU

Spokesman for Poland’s security services warns of ‘hostile plans’ against bloc, particularly Lithuania, Latvia and Poland

Zehra Nur Düz   | 22.09.2021
Poland accuses Belarus of using migrants to pressure them, EU

ANKARA

Poland accused Belarus on Tuesday of preparing to send thousands of migrants across its border into the country in an effort to destabilize them and the European Union. 

"Since the beginning of August, Poland has been under increasing pressure from migrants, which is the result of the actions of the Alexander Lukashenko regime,” Stanislaw Zaryn, the spokesman for Poland’s security services chief, said in a statement released by Radio Poland.

Zaryn said Belarus is attempting to create an “artificial migration route” to destabilize the Belarusian-Lithuanian, Belarusian-Latvian and now the Belarusian-Polish border.

“Belarusian state structures are involved in bringing migrants to their territory, mainly from the Middle East. More and more often, they come to Belarus also from Russia. These activities are systematic and carried out on a large scale,” he noted.

Zaryn stressed that there are thousands of migrants brought in by Belarusian President Lukashenko in Belarus, adding the country is searching for new directions from which migrants can be transported to EU countries.

He cited several speeches by Lukashenko in which he said that he would launch a migration route as revenge for the support given by EU countries towards civil society in Belarus.

“What we are seeing now is the implementation of hostile plans against the European Union, and in particular Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. The operation carried out by Belarus, with Russian approval, aims to destabilize the countries of Central Europe and the entire European Union,” he underlined.

Zaryn warned that they may see more “organized and aggressive provocations” against Poland in the coming period.

He said the recent crisis on the eastern border of Poland may last for many months.

Four people were found dead Sunday on the Belarus-Poland border, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters Monday in Warsaw.

In August, EU countries bordering Belarus -- Lithuania, Latvia and Poland -- requested the bloc’s help amid a dramatic rise in the number of irregular migrants from Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria crossing their borders.

They accused Lukashenko of intentionally inviting “tourists” from countries that are the main source of migration to the EU to get back at the bloc over sanctions against his government.

In June, the bloc banned the overflight of EU airspace and access to EU airports for all Belarusian aircraft following the forced diversion of a Ryanair flight to Minsk and detention of Belarusian journalist Raman Pratasevich and his partner.

Since October 2020, the EU has imposed sanctions against 166 individuals and 15 entities from Belarus for human rights violations.


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