EU blames Belarus for Migrant crisis at the border met Poland

Poland has gathered thousands of troops on his limit with Belarus to keep out Migrants from the Middle East who to have set up camp there, as western officials accuse the Belarusian leader of intentionally trying to get a new migrant crisis in Europe.

The impasse along the barbed wire fence die separates the two countries intensified a protracted clash between Belarus, a repressive former Soviet Republic and the European Union, including Poland.

Western officials say President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of Belarus admits thousands of asylum seekers from the Middle East in his country and then leads them west towards Poland and the EU, and has escalated that. strategy this week. They say he takes revenge against sanctions imposed after his disputed electoral victory in 2020.

The strong rise in tensions have scared European officials, with Pictures of desperate migrants die evoke the refugee crisis of 2015. The confrontation with Belarus, a close Russian ally, also increases new concern over the safety.

EU leaders try to strike a balance between protecting the bloc’s external borders and preventing a worsening of the humanitarian crisis among the migrants die along the edge of a forest in to freeze weather.

On Tuesday, Polish authorities said there were at least 3,000 people who die hoping to enter the European Union, gathered at the Kuznica border crossing, in near the Belarusian city of Grodno. Hundreds were camped to see just feet away from the border fence in video images provided by both parties. In response to the growing number of Poles increased their troops in the area until more than 17,000 soldiers, border guards and police, Polish officials said.

“This is a hybrid action performed out by the Belarusian regime against Poland and the EU,” said President Andrzej Duda of Poland, describing an operation he said was orchestrated by Belarusian security forces to kill thousands of migrants the forest in at the border. “These are just aggressive actions die we must resist.”

Poland has prevented journalists, aid organizations and EU officials from traveling to the border area, making reports of the scene difficult to verify. Polish authorities said eight people have so far died crossing the border.

Human rights groups, including: Amnesty International and the Helsinki Foundation of human rights, have accused Poland of illegal migrants push who the border had been crossed back on Belarusian territory.

Poland’s government recently passed legislation die legalizes pushbacks, die has been criticized by human rights organizations and is being analyzed by the European Commission. For years, the nationalist government party has cast migration from the Middle East as a threat to Polish culture and sovereignty.

still a show of support for Poland from EU countries and top officials suggested that Europe’s security concerns were more important than human rights.

Jens Stoltenberg, de secretary general of NATO, said he spoke with mr. Duda and promised the alliance ‘solidarity’. Peter Stano, a spokesperson for executive arm of the EU, said Mr Lukashenko behaved like “a gangster” and die unspecified additional sanctions against Belarus were on their way.

But it did not seem that Mr Lukashenko, an autocrat, who has ruled his country since 1994, was willing to change course. To be government denies creating a refugee crisis, but he has hinted for months he could do just Which. In May he has warned the West: “We stopped drugs and migrants for you – now you have to eat them and catch them themselves.”

Until recently, migrants over spread all the way of the border, but now Belarusian authorities are collecting them at the Kuznica border crossing, said Anna Alboth of the minority rights group in Poland.

On Tuesday, the Belarusian border service released a video showing a tent camp in a narrow strip is pressed of land- just a few yards of a line of Polish security forces in white helmets. The video showed a low-flying helicopter, military vehicles and a water cannon truck on the poles side, and a thicket of tents and smoky bonfires on the Belarusian side.

“We have not seen any violations of the law by the migrants,” said Ivan Kubrakov, the interior minister of Belarus. “As a hospitable country, we are always ready to welcome everyone.”

AN video posted by the Polish Ministry of Defense on Monday showed a crowd of people trying to break down the border fence of barbed wire with long sticks.

“There is not enough water and food,” said Belarusian border agency in a statement, die the describes people in the camp as mainly Kurds. “The situation is complicated by a significant number of pregnant women and infants among the refugees.”

EU officials said they were analyzing air traffic to Minsk, the Belarusian capital, as possible evidence that Mr Lukashenko effectively orchestrated a flow of migrants to EU countries. The timetable for Minsk airport, met as of October 31, shows at least 47 scheduled flights per week from the Middle East locations, compared with new more than 23 flights a week on his previous schedule. The extra flights include a new daily route from Damascus on an Airbus A320 of the Syrian airline Cham Wings.

Travel agencies in the region of Kurdistan of Iraq, where many of the migrants come from, have offered packages met visa to Belarus and airline tickets via Turkey of the United Arab Emirates for about $3,000.

Mr Stano, the EU spokesperson, said officials were monitoring the flights of about two dozen countries die migrants to Minsk – including Morocco, Syria, South Africa, Somalia, India, Sri Lanka, Algeria, Libya and Yemen. The European Commissioner for home affairs, Ylva Johansson, said the EU was stepping up “outreach” with partner countries” to prevent migrants from coming to Belarus in the first place.

“Our urgent priority is to off the offer entering the Minsk airport, “she said” in a tweet.

The EU’s deadlock with mr. Lukashenko is more intense since he crushed street protests against election fraud last year. mr. Lukashenko claims the West is trying to overthrow him by supporting the opposition, and imprisoned thousands of dissidents and journalists, while many others left the country.

In May, Belarus diverted a RyanAir flight from Greece to Lithuania as it flew through Belarusian airspace, forcing it to land in Minsk, and arrested a passenger, Roman Protasevich, a dissident Belarusian journalist die in in banishment. European leaders criticized the move as an act of piracy, and it lured a new round of western sanctions against Belarus.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has emerged as Mr Lukashenko’s main lender. The two spoke on the phone on Tuesday, the Kremlin said, discussing the situation at the Polish border. Mr Putin is foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, blamed the West for fuel the migration crisis and said that the EU should Belarus pay to help contain — just if the block sent financial help Turkey to do this in 2016.

“We see that Belarusian specialists work very responsibly,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri S. Peskov told reporters.

Polish officials said that in next die at the border, more over 10,000 migrants were elsewhere in Belarus, also in hoping to reach the EU On Monday, Piotr Müller, a Polish government spokesman, said national borders are “under attack in an organized way.” A top security official, Maciej Wasik, said a “real battle” Has taken place against people trying to enter Poland illegally in near Kuznica.

The impasse comes at a particularly difficult time in Poland’s relations with the EU, and in the interior of the country politics. The conservative Polish government’s long feud with the European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch, over the independence of Justice in Poland escalated in past weeks, and the commission withheld the payment of the country’s $41 billion share of the EU corona fund.

Bee home, the Polish government party, Law and Justice, has seized on The image of a nation die is besieged by migrants to parade her nationalist credentials and brand her critics as unpatriotic at the same time of national crisis. Both the opposition and the nationalist groups die support the government are scheduled to rally in the centre of the capital on Thursday, Poland’s Independence Day.

Anton Troianovski reported from Moscow, Monika Pronczuk from Brussels and Tolek Magdziarz from Warsaw. Oleg Matsnev contributed from Moscow, Jane Arraf from Suleimaniya, Iraq, and Andrew Higgins from Cluj, Romania.

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