Poland’s prime minister said Tuesday that Belarus was purposely encouraging migrants from the Middle East to enter Poland to destabilize the European Union.
“Our eastern neighbor is trying systematically, and in an organized way, to destabilize the political situation,” Mateusz Morawiecki said during a visit to the eastern town of Kuznica.
About 3,000 migrants, some of them from Iraq and Afghanistan, have attempted to enter Poland from Belarus this month, The Associated Press reported. Poland is denying them entry and on Monday said it would build a fence to keep them out.
The Polish government said Tuesday that it had provided tents, blankets and power generators to the migrants, who remain on Belarusian territory.
On Tuesday, the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, called for Poland to provide medical and legal support to the migrants.
Morawiecki said Belarus’ efforts would fail because “Poland’s border will be very well protected.”
Poland is not alone in accusing Belarus. Other Baltic states have also said Minsk is pushing migrants toward them. They say it is in retaliation for EU sanctions against Belarus following government crackdowns against those protesting the disputed reelection of President Alexander Lukashenko in August 2020.
The European Commission, the executive body of the EU, said it was monitoring the situation.
“We firmly reject attempts to instrumentalize people for political purposes,” spokesman Christian Wigand said in Brussels. “We cannot accept any attempts by third countries to incite or acquiesce in illegal migration” to the EU.
Wigand called for “orderly border management” and “full respect for migrants’ fundamental rights.”
According to a BBC report, the Belarusian president on Monday accused Poland of starting a “border conflict” and violating his country’s territory.
Lukashenko has warned EU members that his country will no longer prevent unauthorized migrants from crossing into EU territories after the EU imposed its sanctions, Reuters news agency has reported.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, BBC and Reuters.
Source: Voice of America