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Poland declares emergency state on border with Belarus

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Polish border guard officers stand guard next to a group of migrants stranded on the border between Belarus and Poland near the village of Usnarz Gorny, Poland September 1, 2021. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Poland’s President declared on Thursday an emergency state in two areas close to the border with Belarus.

The move is the first in the history of post-communism in the country, which follows a spike in illegal migration.

The EU accused Belarus’ President, Alexander Lukashenko, of using Iraqi and Afghan migrants as part of a “hybrid war.”

Also, the Union said Belarus is trying to pressure the bloc over the sanction imposition on Minsk.

Also, Poland has been improving security along its border with Belarus, as well as using fences and constant troops’ patrol.

“The situation on the border with Belarus is difficult and dangerous,” said Blazej Spychalski, a presidential spokesperson.

“Today, Poland is responsible for its borders, but also the EU’s. Poland must take measures to ensure its security and the EU’s,” he continued.

Poland thwarting migrants

On Wednesday, the Polish Border Guard (PBG) said there had been 3500 attempts to cross the borders in August.

Besides, Poland managed to thwart 2500 of the illegal crossing attempts.

The government said they need to prepare themselves for any “provocations” from the Russian army during military exercises.

The exercises will take place on September 10 on Russian-Belarusian territory close to Poland.

The “West-2021” training drills will include thousands of troops, including servicemen from Kazakhstan, and a member of the defense bloc.

Additionally, the drills will also involve tanks, artillery and aircraft.

Media blackout?

“The second reason for bringing in the state of emergency in this area is the military exercises that will take place on our border,” said the Polish Minister of Interior Mariusz Kaminski.

The emergency state will apply to a three-kilometer deep area along the border.

Furthermore, it will last for 30 days, restrict people’s movement and ban gatherings.

NGOs have rebuked Poland’s decision and said the government must provide aid to the migrants stuck at the border.

“This emergency state is a nuclear solution that moves us and the media from the border to ensure no one documents what happens there,” said Marianna Wartecka of the Ocalenie Foundation refugee charity.

Poland said Belarus should take responsibility for the migrants and accused Minsk of rejecting a humanitarian aid convoy it sent.

 

 

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