BELSK PODLASKI, Poland / BRUZGI, Belarus – Poland accused Belarus on Friday of transporting hundreds of migrants back to the border in trucks and pushing them to attempt to illegally cross the border just hours after clearing the camps at the border, which became the focus of the escalation East. Western crisis.
The accusation from Poland suggests that the crisis was not resolved by a clear change in course for Minsk, which cleared major border camps on Thursday and allowed the first flight to Iraq in months for repatriation.
European governments accuse Belarus of flowing in thousands of people from the Middle East and pushing them to try to illegally cross the EU border, where several people died in the frosty forests. Belarus denies fomenting the crisis.
A spokesman for the Polish border service, Anna Mikhalska, said that by Thursday evening, just hours after the camps had been cleared, the Belarusian authorities had already sent hundreds of trucks back and forced them to try to cross in the dark.
“(Belarusians) brought more migrants to the place where there was a forced attempt to cross,” Mikhalskaya said. “At first there were 100 people, but then the Belarusian side brought more people in trucks. Then there were 500 people. “
When the migrants tried to cross the border, Belarusian troops blinded Polish guards with lasers, she said at a press conference. Some migrants threw logs, four of the guards were slightly injured.
Access to the border from the Polish side is limited by a state of emergency, which makes it difficult to verify its account.
In an interview with the BBC, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko repeatedly denied that he provoked the crisis, but when asked if Belarus helps migrants to cross the Polish border, he said: “I think it is absolutely possible. We are Slavs. We have hearts. Our troops know that migrants are going to Germany. Maybe someone helped them. I won’t even understand it. “
Europeans shunned Lukashenko after last year’s controversial elections, but approached him cautiously this week when German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to Lukashenko twice on the phone.
However, on Thursday, the European Commission and Germany rejected Minsk’s offer, made by Lukashenka Merkel, according to which EU countries would accept 2,000 migrants and 5,000 others sent home.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday that the situation at the borders remains extremely alarming.
“The use of vulnerable people by Lukashenka’s regime as a means of pressure on other countries is cynical and inhuman,” he said. “NATO is in full solidarity with all affected allies.”