Poland Blames Belarus, Russia for Migrant Deaths at Its Border
(Bloomberg) -- Poland blamed Belarus and Russia for an escalating migrant crisis that saw three deaths reported Sunday on its border.
“This is a mass action, thoroughly directed in Minsk and Moscow,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a conference Monday. “Poland will defend its border with full determination.”
Undocumented arrivals from Belarus --originating largely in the Middle East -- have soared since President Alexander Lukashenko said in May that he’d retaliate against European Union sanctions. In response, the government in Warsaw has erected a barbed-wire fence and sent thousands of troops to patrol the area.
Similar issues are affecting Lithuania and Latvia, which -- along with Poland -- have called the surge part of a “hybrid attack” on the EU. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been Lukashenko’s strongest supporter amid the backlash.
The Belarusian leader has denied his country has the capabilities to mount such an assault. A Kremlin spokesperson had no immediate comment when contracted by Bloomberg.
Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski confirmed the bodies found at the weekend were probably migrants, saying everyone who reaches the border is paying large sums of money in a bid to get to Germany. More than 7,000 people tried to cross the frontier in August and September.
Marking a possible fourth fatality, a Polish patrol said it saw the body of a woman on the Belarus side of the border.
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