Polish forces repel attempt to storm border with Belarus

“Polish services prevented the migrants’ attempt to force their way to the Polish side, south of the border crossing in Kuźnica. The situation has been brought under control,” the Interior and Administration Ministry wrote on social media.

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“Another numerous group of immigrants have been escorted by the Belarusian services to the Polish-Belarusian border line. Migrants make the first attempts to force their way across the border. We are present,” the Polish Border Guard reported earlier on Twitter.

Stanisław Żaryn, a spokesman for the Minister, Special Services Coordinator, informed about the large column of migrants heading towards the border crossing. According to Mr Żaryn this is the largest recorded mass attempt to enter Poland by force.

In connection with the events on the Polish-Belarusian border, the government crisis management team met at 1 pm local time.

The Defence Ministry informed that a group of migrants are currently located in the vicinity of Kuźnica. The ministry also published a recording showing migrants at the Polish border. According to independent Belarusian journalists, they were pushed into the forest by Belarusian officials.

“Belarus’ regime escalates the border crisis – migrants are pushed to the EU border by armed men. Lukashenka is fully responsible for the hybrid attack on Poland, Belarus and the EU. The migrant smuggling, violence & ill-treatment must stop. A strong EU response is needed. The UNSC should discuss this crisis,” Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of the Belarusian opposition stressed.

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“This is a continuation of the desperate attempts by Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s regime to use people to destabilise the European Union,” European Commission spokesman Adalbert Jahnz said, when asked about the development of the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border.

He added that the Commission strongly rejects attempts to instrumentalise people for political ends and as far as migrants are concerned, he stressed that the approach to the situation should be “humane and dignified, based on our European values ​​and fundamental rights”.

“We are concerned about the recent escalation on the Polish-Belarusian border,” NATO said in a statement on Monday. “We urge Belarus to respect international law. We are witnessing a wave of migrants trying to get to the territory of the allies via Belarus. NATO continues to closely monitor the situation that is putting pressure on our allies, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland,” the statement reads.

It added that “the use of migrants by the Lukashenka regime as a hybrid tactic is unacceptable.” It also said that Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of the North Atlantic Alliance, is in close contact with the governments of the allied countries.

The Minister of National Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak, said that over 12,000 soldiers are on duty at the border. He added that the readiness of the Polish Territorial Defence Forces (WOT) was raised. “Together with the services of the Interior and Administration Ministry, we are prepared to defend the Polish border,” he emphasised.