Poland: Child refugees forced back over the border
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Tensions between Poland and Belarus have erupted along the border in recent weeks amid a growing migrant crisis. Both Warsaw and the European Union have claimed that Belarus is enacting a form of “hybrid warfare” by deliberately encouraging illegal migrants to enter Poland. Minsk has repeatedly denied this claim.
New footage shared by the State Border Committee of Belarus online appeared to show Polish security forces trying to push a group of refugees back across the border into Belarusian territory.
Sharing the video on Telegram, the Border Committee stated: “These are the desperate cries of women and crying of children from the Polish side of the border.
“The Poles made another attempt to force a group of refugees to the Belarusian border through a barbed wire cut beforehand.”
It stated that “the Polish security forces are deliberately expelling entire families that need protection and assistance”.
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The official State Border Committee of Belarus continued: “Despite the obvious evidence of inhumane measures, Poland is trying not only to hide such facts from the public but also to accuse Belarus of provocations on the border, stating that ‘from the Belarusian side, recordings of crying and screaming of children are broadcast’.
“However, the video released directly indicates that these are not broadcasts from the territory of Belarus, but the result of real harsh actions of Polish law enforcement officers at the border.”
Poland has criticised the influx of migrants as a deliberate act from Belarus to sow chaos in the EU.
Warsaw has since declared a state of emergency along the border to stem migrants, largely from countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
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In response, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that EU sanctions on his country mean that Minsk can no longer control the flow of migration.
He said that there is “neither money nor effort.”
Earlier this week, Belarusian soldiers threatened to open fire on Polish troops according to the Polish Defence Ministry
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The Polish Defence Ministry tweeted on Thursday: “Yesterday Polish soldiers located a group of around 250 migrants near the fence.
“The Belarusian soldiers guarding them threatened to open fire at our soldiers.”
The Minister said that because Polish soldiers “did not allow themselves to be provoked,” the situation did not escalate further.
On Wednesday, Poland accused Belarus of staging an armed cross-border intrusion.
Warsaw summoned the Belarusian charge d’affaires to protest over what it said was “a deliberate escalation” of the migrant crisis.
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