Hundreds of migrants attack Poland’s border officials

AAt the closed Kuznica / Brusgi border crossing, around a hundred migrants attacked the Polish security forces on Tuesday and damaged border fences. According to the border guards, the “young, aggressive men” threw stones and used poles, tree trunks and apparently smoke grenades. Recordings from the eastern side of the border, which the independent Belarusian medium Nexta_TV broadcast on Twitter, confirmed this impression. According to the Polish authorities, seven police officers and one border guard were injured by stones and taken to hospital; a police officer suffered “probably a fractured skull”. The Polish security forces mainly used water cannons. In the afternoon, a spokesman for the authorities tweeted: “The first wave of attacks on the border has stopped.”

Gerhard Gnauck

Political correspondent for Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania based in Warsaw.

The Belarusian ruler Alexandr Lukashenko had, according to the state news agency Belta, assured before the escalation on Tuesday morning that he wanted to avoid a “confrontation” at the border. “We cannot allow this so-called problem to lead to a heated confrontation,” he said. “The most important thing now is to protect our country and our people and not allow clashes.”

There have been attempts to deliver weapons to migrants; By whom, however, the Belarusian ruler did not specify. Under the pretext of protecting the external borders, the EU is gathering troops and armored vehicles. “Instead of looking for solutions together with the Belarusian side, the EU is canceling cross-border cooperation and interaction projects,” said Lukashenko.

Alluding to the state of emergency imposed by Poland in the border area, which bans journalists from entering, Lukashenko said: “We do not ban journalists.” Any representative of the Belarusian and foreign press can come and report from anywhere. Admittedly, the Belarusian ruler is preventing foreign journalists from reporting on the protests against him, for example, by rejecting or delaying visa applications and is cracking down on the Belarusian opposition media.

“Migrants are hostages of the regime”

Polish humanitarian organizations helping migrants in the forest in the border area have expressed concern about the actions of the Belarusian authorities. The action alliance “Granica” (border) wrote: “We are receiving more and more outrageous news that attempts are being made to force migrants to take part in Belarusian provocations and to use violence against Polish officials.” The migrants would refuse, but could be considered “hostages of the regime “be forced to participate anyway. The activists called on Warsaw to provide the migrants with a way out via a “humanitarian bridge”.

Lukashenko apparently ordered the establishment of a night camp for migrants near the Polish border on Tuesday. In the Grodno region, a logistics center is being converted so that women and children can stay overnight, the state agency Belta reported on Tuesday evening. The photos show people spreading out mats and blankets in a hall.

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In Warsaw on Tuesday, for the second time since the escalation on the Belarusian border, the heads of state and government met for an emergency meeting at the National Security Office. President Andrzej Duda’s foreign policy advisor, Jakub Kumoch, said they were in close contact with Lithuania and Latvia in particular; In NATO, the option to request consultations of the alliance via Article four is “absolutely on the table”. Government spokesman Piotr Müller said: “God grant that it doesn’t have to be article five.”

Article five provides for the common defense of the alliance and has so far only been activated once, after the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001. Müller said that at the moment the “cunning” actions of the Belarus authorities in this crisis “under the guise of a humanitarian and migration problem are some kind of attack on the Polish border”. All scenarios are in view, including an extension of the conflict “over the next few months”. Above all, one should “not give in” to the directors of this crisis, the rulers in Moscow and Minsk.

The head of the ruling PiS party, Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, had previously warned against exaggerated fears. “A war involving the use of weapons is not on the horizon at the moment. Not really, but we are dealing with an unpredictable opponent. “

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