Poland strengthens protection of eastern border to prevent illegal migration

“We are strengthening the protection of our eastern border to prevent illegal migration. We are noting an increase in migration pressure from the Middle East and it looks like an action that is organised,” Paweł Jabłoński, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, said on Wednesday.

“This is a situation analogous to that faced by Lithuanians on their section of the border with Belarus. We are analysing this situation, monitoring and strengthening the protection of our border in order to prevent illegal migration. It is our absolute priority to ensure that our border is secured,” he assured.

Around 50 migrants camp out just beside the Polish-Belarusian border near the village of Usnarz Górny in the Podlaskie province in the eastern part of the country. The officers of the Polish Border Guard are at the scene to prevent the illegal trespassing of Poland. The Polish Army is also involved in these procedures. The Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said that a total of 900 soldiers support the protection of the borders. In recent months, the number of illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other countries has increased sharply at the borders of Belarus with the EU. Most people have so far been sent to Lithuania, which has accused the regime in Minsk of organising the transfer of immigrants to its territory as part of a “hybrid war.”

After Lithuania passed legislation allowing its border authorities to send migrants back to Belarus, their groups diverted to the borders with Latvia and Poland. Riga also decided to return migrants and introduced a state of emergency at the border.

Poland’s Government Information Center (CIR) reported that only in August this year, a total of 1,935 people tried to cross the border illegally at the Polish-Belarusian border. “The Border Guard prevented 1,175 people from trying to cross the border, and 760 foreigners were detained and are kept in closed centres,” CIR reported.

The Polish government also adopted the draft amendment to the act on foreigners and the act on granting protection to foreigners within the territory of Poland prepared by the Ministry of Interior and Administration (MSWiA). The purpose of the changes is to adapt the regulations to the current migration situation at the EU’s external border.

On Tuesday, the Lithuanian border guard reported that twelve Belarusian soldiers had crossed the border illegally, pushing 35 immigrants from Iraq behind it. After a few minutes, they left the territory of Lithuania. The Lithuanian government uses the tactic of returning migrants. They are directed to border crossings or to diplomatic missions.

The Ministry of the Interior ordered that anyone who crosses the border illegally and wants to return to their country will receive a ticket and EUR 300. It also decided to build a fence on the border with Belarus that will be 508 km long.

David Sassoli, the head of the European Parliament, announced that the EU would support Lithuania in strengthening the security of the border with Belarus. He stressed that the Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka was using migrants as political pressure on neighbouring countries.