June 28, 2022

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Belarus Accused of State Terrorism Over Migrant Crisis

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Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has accused Belarus of committing “terrorism” over its role in an escalating border row between the two countries.

“It’s clear that what we are confronted with here is a demonstration of state terrorism,” he told a news conference.

Thousands of migrants are stuck at the border in freezing weather, attempting to enter EU member Poland.

The EU has also accused Belarus’s leader of provoking the crisis.

But Alexander Lukashenko, who won a largely discredited election last year, denies claims Belarus is sending people over the border in revenge for EU sanctions.

The migrants – mostly from the Middle East – are mainly young men but there are also women and children. They are camping in tents just inside Belarus, trapped between Polish guards on one side, and Belarusian guards on the other.

The situation has come to a head this week with repeated attempts to tear down the razor-wire fence erected on Poland’s eastern frontier.

Mr Morawiecki’s latest comments came at a news conference in Warsaw with European Council President Charles Michel. He said he believed the crisis was a result of Mr Lukashenko’s “quiet revenge” for Poland’s support of the Belarusian opposition.

Mr Michel said he had come to Warsaw to show the EU’s solidarity with Poland. He said the use of men, women and children as tools to achieve political goals was “shameful and unacceptable”.

“Sanctions are on the table. We must now co-ordinate with member states to identify most efficient tools”, he told the conference. “This hybrid attack against Poland and the EU must stop.”

He said the EU must decide whether to fund fences by member states in the face of such crises, adding it was legally possible. President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen said that sanctions would be widened against Belarus next week.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel phoned Mr Putin on Wednesday, asking him to press Belarus to stop the “instrumentalisation of migrants”, her spokesman said.

But Russia said on Wednesday it was “irresponsible” for Poland to blame Russia for the crisis. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the EU should provide financial support to Belarus to deal with migrants.

Ukraine, which shares a border with Belarus, is doubling the number of border guards on its frontier to prevent migrants from entering the country illegally.

The UN Security Council is to hold an emergency meeting on the crisis on Thursday.

Source – BBC News

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