Poland fears ‘major incident’ as migrants from Belarus head for border

KYIV, Nov. 8 (Reuters) – Polish authorities accused Belarus of trying to have a big confrontation on Monday and said they had mobilized extra soldiers as visual material on social media showed hundreds of migrants die walk to the Polish border.

In one video, shared by Belarusian blogging service NEXTA, migrants met backpacks and wearing winter clothes were seen walking on the side of a highway.

Other videos showed large groups of migrants sit along the road and are accompanied by armed men dressed in khaki.

“Belarus wants” cause a major incident, preferably with shots and casualties: according to media reports, they are preparing a great provocation in near Kuznica Bialostocka, that there will be an attempted mass border crossing,” said Deputyminister of Foreign Affairs Piotr Wawrzyk against the Polish public radio.

The European Union has accused Belarus of encourage migrants from the Middle East and Africa to enter the EU countries via Belarus, as a shape of hybrid warfare in revenge for western sanctions on Minsk over human rights violations.

Neighboring EU member Lithuania announced it was moving extra troops to the border to prepare for An possible golf in migrants crossing. To be government can follow in Poland’s footprints by declaring a state of emergency.

Poland is stationed more than 12,000 troops at the border, the defense minister said, sharing aerial footage of migrants clustered on the Belarusian side. Latvia, which shares a border with Belarus called the situation “alarming”.

Exiled Belarusian leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya pushed for a strong response from the EU and the United Nations.

Belarus regime escalates border crisis – migrants are pushed armed to EU border men’ she tweeted. ‘The migrant smuggling, violence and mistreatment must stop.’

MIGRANT CRISIS

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s government has repeatedly denied that a migrant crisis has arisen and blames the West for the crossings and treatment of migrants.

The Belarusian State Border Committee confirmed that many refugees moving towards the Polish border, saying Warsaw was taking an “inhumane attitude”.

The EU, the United States and the United Kingdom have imposed sanctions on Belarus after Lukashenko unleashed violent crackdown on mass protests after a controversial election last year.

Lukashenko has defied opposition calls to resign, backed by money and diplomatic support by traditional ally Russia. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday defended Minsk .’s treatment of the migrant issue, and said Belarus was taking all necessary measures to act legally.

Charities say migrants face grueling conditions when crossing the border from Belarus in to freeze weather with a defect of food and medical assistance.

Polish authorities said seven migrants are found dead on Poland’s side of the border, with reports of more deaths in Belarus.

Humanitarian groups blame Poland’s ruling nationalists of violating the international right to asylum by pushing migrants back to Belarus instead of accept their requests for protection. Poland says his actions are legal.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said: on Facebook that “the Polish border is not” just a line on a map. The border is sacred – Polish blood has been spilled for the!”.

Reporting by Matthias Williams in Kiev, Joanna Plucinska and Pawel Florkiewicz in Warsaw; Andrius Sytas in Vilnius; additional reporting by Pavel Polityuk in Kiev and Dmitry Antonov in Moscow; writing by Matthias Williams, adaptation by Ed Osmond

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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