Minsk and Moscow behind border migrant standoff says PM

2021-09-20 12:51 update: 2021-09-21, 17:28
Prezes Rady Ministrów Mateusz Morawiecki. Fot. PAP/Wojciech Olkuśnik
Prezes Rady Ministrów Mateusz Morawiecki. Fot. PAP/Wojciech Olkuśnik
Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, has accused Minsk and Moscow of masterminding the migrant crisis on the Poland-Belarus border.

The accusation, which the Polish government has made before, came after the bodies of three people, believed to be migrants, were found on the Polish side of the border late on Sunday.

The three are believed to have died from hypothermia.

"We are dealing with a massive, organised operation aimed at destabilising the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border... well-directed in Minsk and Moscow," Morawiecki told a Monday briefing with the commander of the Polish Border Guard on the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border.

Morawiecki said that in September alone almost 4,000 attempts to illegally cross the Polish-Belarusian have been identified on top of more than 3,000 incidents reported in August.

"We are sure that people are transported from the territory of Belarus to Belarusian border guard posts, where they are instructed and taken from there to the border with Poland," he said, adding that the Polish security services have footage taken by cameras and drones of this taking place.

According to Morawiecki, Belarus is taking steps to increase the pressure on the EU’s external borders, and, to this end, has introduced a visa-free regime with Middle Eastern and African countries.

He added that "tens of thousands of people are brought to Belarus to be delivered to the Polish-Belarusian border.”

"It can be clearly seen that the determination is great on the Belarusian side, on the Russian side - as no one likely believes this is an independent operation run by Lukashenko," said the prime minister.

Poland and the Baltic States have accused the Belarusian government of pushing migrants across their borders in an effort to destabilise both them and the EU.

In an attempt to curb the flow of migrants the Polish government has ordered the construction of a fence along its border with Belarus, and declared a state of emergency in some border regions.

The situation on the border rose to prominence several weeks ago, when a group of about 30 migrants tried to cross from Belarus to Poland but were refused entry by Polish border guards.

The group has since been camped on the Belarusian side of the border. (PAP)