The European Union accuses Belarus of deliberately bringing in thousands of immigrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia and making it easier for them to cross Belarus’ borders with EU countries – Poland, Lithuania and Latvia – in order to exert migratory pressure on Brussels in retaliation for the sanctions imposed on Belarus. Minsk denies that Belarus deliberately caused the migration crisis.
War would be a catastrophe
Alexander Lukashenko, Belarusian dictator
On Sunday, during his stay in Vilnius, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki warned that the migration crisis on the Polish border could be “a prelude to something worse”.
Meanwhile, Lukashenko, quoted by the BiełTA agency, assures that he “does not want to escalate” the crisis.
– We must reach Poles, every Pole and show them that we are not barbarians, that we do not want a confrontation. We don’t need this. Because we understand that if we go too far, war will be inevitable, said the Belarusian dictator.
Lukashenko added that “a war would be a catastrophe.” – We understand it perfectly. We do not want any explosion – said Lukashenko.
The Belarusian dictator also stated that he insisted that Germany accept some of the immigrants in Belarus and regretted that the European Union was not contacting Minsk on this matter.
From the morning of November 8, the Polish authorities alerted that the largest attempt to cross the Polish border by force was starting in connection with the fact that thousands of immigrants were heading towards the border. The immigrant groups were to be formed by the Belarusian authorities, although later reports revealed that the march to the border was a grassroots initiative by the immigrants. On Monday afternoon, there were attempts to cross the Polish border by force, which were, however, thwarted by the Polish security forces.
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According to information from Radio Białystok on the evening of November 9, two groups of several dozen immigrants forcefully crossed the Polish border. This information was confirmed by the head of the Ministry of National Defense, Mariusz Błaszczak. In the following days, such attempts, organized by groups from several dozen to even several hundred people, were made regularly.
Due to the situation in the border region, Lithuania introduced a state of emergency on its border with Belarus on November 9.
On the Polish-Belarus border, a state of emergency has been in force since September 2 in connection with the increased migratory pressure on the Polish border in this part of it. The pressure is to be the result of a hybrid war waged by the Belarusian authorities, which bring immigrants from the Middle East and Africa to their territory, and then make it easier for them to get to the border with Poland, as well as the borders with Lithuania and Latvia. These actions are the response of the Minsk regime to the sanctions imposed on Belarus by the EU.
Due to the situation at the border, the government decided to build a dam on the border, 5.5 meters high. The dam is to be built by mid-2022. On November 12, Latvia made the decision to build a fence on the border with Belarus. In turn, Ukraine, due to the migration crisis, sent 8.5 thousand additional soldiers and border guards to its border with Belarus.
The Polish government also undertook diplomatic activities in the countries of origin of immigrants reaching Poland. As a result of them, i.a. In Iraq, Belarusian consulates in Baghdad and Irbil have been closed. In addition, after talks with the Turkish side, in the face of the threat of EU sanctions that could affect Turkish Airlines, tickets for planes flying from Turkish airports to Minsk, not only Turkish Airlines, but also Belarusian Belavia, can no longer be bought by Iraqi citizens, Syria and Yemen.
On November 15, immigrants camped near the closed border crossing in Kuźnica Białostocka moved to the immediate vicinity of the crossing. On November 16, a group of about 100 aggressive immigrants attacked the fence and Polish officers, throwing stones, bottles and stun grenades at them. The attack lasted several hours, several Polish policemen, as well as a Border Guard officer and a soldier were injured.
On November 18, a group of around 430 immigrants who had stayed in Belarus in recent weeks, returned to Iraq on board a plane sent by the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the same day, the head of the Ministry of National Defense, Mariusz Błaszczak, informed that a company of British engineering troops would appear on the Polish border.
Angela Merkel conducted two talks with Alexander Lukashenka about the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border. The Belarusian side claims that it has presented a proposal that the European Union should accept 2,000. immigrants from Belarus, in return for which Belarus will send 5,000 immigrants to their homelands.