Belarus Accused of Forcing Thousands of Migrants Across the Polish Border

The Polish government say they are treating the latest surge of mass crossings as a “provocation.”
Poland's law enforcement officers watching migrants at the Belarusian-Polish border.
Poland's law enforcement officers watching migrants at the Belarusian-Polish border. Photo: LEONID SHCHEGLOV/BELTA/AFP via Getty Images 

The Polish government accused Belarus of “provocation” on Monday, alleging Minsk is deliberately encouraging migrants to cross into Poland in large numbers.

Early in the morning, security forces pushed back large groups of migrants caught trying to cross into Poland. Following the surge, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak tweeted that additional troops would be sent to the border to support the 12,000 soldiers already stationed there.

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Migrants are seen on the Belarusian-Polish border

Migrants are seen on the Belarusian-Polish border. Photo: Leonid Shcheglov\TASS via Getty Images

Footage from the Belarusian side of the border showed what appeared to be tens of migrants walking along a motorway before being directed into the woods by men in military fatigues.

Migrants at the Belarusian-Polish border in the Grodno region.

Migrants at the Belarusian-Polish border in the Grodno region. Photo: LEONID SHCHEGLOV/BELTA/AFP via Getty Images

The Polish government has published aerial footage of migrants gathered behind barbed wire facing Polish border security forces, with a number of migrants trying to cut through the fence. They are eventually stopped by Polish border police using pepper spray.

Photo: Leonid Shcheglov\TASS via Getty Images

Photo: Leonid Shcheglov\TASS via Getty Images

Beginning in the summer, waves of migrants from Iraq, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries have managed to find a safe route into Europe through Minsk. The EU has accused Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko of “weaponising” migrants by easing their travel into Minsk before facilitating their illegal entry into the EU through Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.

“The Polish border is not just a line on a map,” Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish Prime Minister, wrote on Facebook. “The border is sacred - Polish blood has been spilt for it.”

In response, the Belarusian government has blamed Poland and the EU for demonstrating an “inhumane attitude” toward asylum seekers.

Migrants are seen in a tent on the Belarusian-Polish border. Photo: Leonid Shcheglov\TASS via Getty Images

Migrants are seen in a tent on the Belarusian-Polish border. Photo: Leonid Shcheglov\TASS via Getty Images