Poland uses water cannons and tear gas as tensions mount at border met Belarus

WARSAW — Polish authorities said border guards used water cannons and tear gas on Tuesday to fend off what they believe was an attempt by migrants moving en masse from Belarus to break through the heavily guarded border.

Tensions have been building along the eastern front of the European Union for weeks like thousands of migrants, mostly from the Middle East, have flown to Belarus in the hope of finding a path the block in. The EU Member States that: share a border with Belarus – Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – have accused government of Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, the leader of Belarus, of orchestrate what they say is a “hybrid” attack” using people as weapons.

After a few nights of tense deadlocks, tensions flared on Tuesday morning.

The Polish authorities, in An series of Twitter posts said border guards at the Kuznica-Bruzgi border crossing were attacked by people throwing “bricks, bottles and logs” and firing “stun grenades.”

“The whole aggressive behavior is coordinated by Belarusian services and controlled by drones,” the Polish authorities said, posting videos of the confrontations. “Like a result of An attack by means of people inspired by Belarusian side, one of the police officers were seriously injured.”

The agent was treated in a hospital for what was believed to be a skull fracture, authorities said.

Since the Polish government journalists from reporting at the border, it was impossible to verify the claims of the authorities of to verify the truth of the scores of videos die appeared on social media claims to be show fragments of the confrontation.

And the Polish government has been criticized by humanitarian organizations for a change in law die it has accepted in October that allows migrants must be pushed back at the border and for to request asylum made by those who illegally imported to be ignored.

Although it was unclear what exactly the use of water cannons and tear gas on Tuesday, it’s only added to the cruel conditions in the increasingly desperate situation for the ones die being stranded on the border.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia on Tuesday called the actions of Polish troops “absolutely unacceptable”, on a news conference. Mr Lavrov said the forces “violate every conceivable norm” of international humanitarian law and other agreements of the international community.”

Moscow has steadfastly supported Belarus as international sentencing has risen.

The Lukashenko government has denied allegations, including from the United States, that it caused the crisis and is leading the movement of the migrants.

“We can use these so-called problem lead to a heated confrontation,” Lukashenko told a government meeting on Tuesday, according to Belta, the state news bureau.

“The main it is now a matter of our country and our . to protect people, and not for allow collisions,” he added.

The number of migrants at the border started to grow after Belarus his visa relaxed rules in August. Western leaders say that Mr Lukashenko — who is facing EU sanctions for his brutal performance on the political opposition and coercion down of a Ryanair flight over Belarus to arrest a dissident journalist — is using migrants to gain influence over the block.

Ever since the migration crisis of 2015, when more more than a million migrants and asylum seekers tried to enter the European Union, the bloc has tightened the border controls and stated that uncontrolled migration is no longer possible.

But the issue remains potentially explosive, and the nationalist of Poland government, die is steadily losing support in the polls, has moved to grab on the moment.

Poland’s chief central banker, Adam Glapinski – an old friend and ally of Poland’s de facto leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski — announced this week that the National Bank of Poland would issue a note and coin for collectors dedicated to the “defense of the Polish eastern border.”

mr. Kaczynski recently announced a meeting in Warsaw next month for like-minded right-wing leaders – including Victor Orban of Hungary and Matteo Salvini of Italy — for the . to discuss future of the European Union and the need for stronger emphasis on national sovereignty and “traditional values.”

The border crisis comes at a time when relations between Brussels and Warsaw have deteriorated, with the European Union accuse the Polish government of undermining rule of law and dismantling independence of the judicial power.

But as the migrant crisis deepened, the bloc borrowed his full support to Poland and the other nations on its eastern border.

With Russia loans support the humanitarian crisis threatens Belarus die unfolds at the border, to culminate in a wider regional conflagration. And when colder temperatures begin the grab region, there are fears of further tragedy among the migrants, with thousands of men, women and children stranded in freezing conditions between the barbed wire and the border guards.

Anatol Magdziarz contributed reporting from Warsaw. Valerie Hopkins contributed from Moscow.

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