Migration crisis with Belarus: clashes at the border, Polish policeman seriously injured

the essential Clashes broke out on the border between Poland and Belarus on Tuesday. Security forces fired tear gas at migrants throwing stones. A Polish policeman was seriously injured.

Polish security forces announced on Tuesday that they had used tear gas and deployed water cannons to repel migrants who threw stones as they attempted to cross the border from Belarus.

The day after a telephone interview with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Belarusian President Alexander Loukachenko assured earlier in the day that he wanted to prevent the migration crisis from degenerating into “confrontation” with his European neighbors. Westerners accuse him of having orchestrated since the summer of migratory movements from the Middle East to the eastern borders of the European Union, which he denies.

According to charity groups, at least 11 migrants have died on both sides of the border since the summer. One of them, Ahmad al-Hassane, a 19 year-old Syrian from Homs, was buried on Monday near the border, on the Polish side. A total of 4000 migrants in total are currently camping, according to Polish border guards, in the cold and deteriorating day by day conditions along the border between Poland and Belarus .

A face-to-face meeting began last week near the crossing point between the Belarusian villages of Bruzgi and the Polish villages of Kuznica, where several hundred migrants, often from the Middle East, gathered. “Migrants attacked our soldiers and officers with stones and are trying to destroy the fence and cross into Poland,” the Polish Defense Ministry tweeted on Tuesday. In Kuznica, “our forces used tear gas to suppress the aggression of the migrants”.

“Unacceptable”

Polish police reported a seriously injured policeman, presumably the victim of a broken skull, “as a result of an attack by people pushed from the Belarusian side”. “The behavior of the Polish side is absolutely unacceptable,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. “They violate all legal standards.”

The EU accuses Minsk of having organized the influx of thousands of migrants to the borders of Poland and Lithuania in revenge for the sanctions imposed after the relentless crackdown on the opposition since 2020. Brussels and Washington announced on Monday that they wanted to expand these punitive measures in the coming days. Paris denounced on Tuesday an “inhuman and macabre staging” at the Polish border, using “thousands of migrants in distress”, with the aim of “fracturing Europe and scaring Europeans”.

“The main thing today is to defend our country, our people and avoid clashes,” Alexander Loukachenko said Tuesday morning, quoted by the state press agency Belta. “This problem must not turn into a fiery confrontation.” His interview the day before with Angela Merkel marked a success for the Belarusian leader to whom the West had refused to speak since his criticized re-election in August 2020.

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