The Prime Minister of Poland has warned of possible escalation of tensions with Belarus in the coming days, as he ordered the deployment of additional troops on the border between the two countries due to the growing number of migrants.
Mateusz Morawiecki made the comments on Tuesday after hundreds of immigrants and refugees, including children and the elderly, arrived at the border, where they were staying overnight.
Poland has accused Belarus of trying to provoke a large-scale conflict by encouraging migrants to enter Poland and the European Union, a charge Minsk denies.
Hundreds of migrants marched to the Polish border near the village of Kuznitsa, and some were seen trying to break through the fence with shovels and other tools.
A video released by the Polish police on Tuesday showed people gathering around a tent and campfire on the Belarusian side of a barbed wire fence.
Humanitarian organizations have accused Polish authorities of violating international law on repatriation to Belarus instead of accepting asylum applications. Poland has said its actions are legitimate.
According to Warsaw, the bodies of seven migrants were found at the border, and the death toll in Belarus has risen.
Polish border guards told Reuters that about 800 people were being held by a group of 4,000 migrants in a part of Belarus and in a nearby forest.
Polish authorities closed an official border crossing with Belarus on Tuesday morning in an attempt to bring in thousands of migrants.
Poland has said it has deployed additional troops, including troops, while neighboring Lithuania says it is considering a state of emergency along its border with Belarus.
The European Commission has said it is ready to help Poland in the short term, but Warsaw has not asked Brussels for help.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko discussed the crisis on Tuesday and expressed concern over Poland’s growing military involvement, Belarus’s state news agency Belta reported.
“The situation on the Belarusian-Polish border, as well as the strict measures taken by the Polish side against civilians, were of special importance in the talks,” Belta said.
“At the same time, special attention was paid to the regular gathering of Polish troops at the border. The heads of state discussed in detail the disturbing facts and trends on the Belarusian-Polish border,” he added.
“New EU-Turkey Agreement”
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that the European Union could provide financial assistance to stop the flow of migrants to Belarus.
Lavrov said the EU must be committed to third countries that use migrants to cross the border.
He said the EU had provided funding to Turkey under a 2016 agreement and promised to repatriate migrants and refugees who crossed the Aegean Sea and entered Greece illegally.
“During a discussion by some political analysts yesterday, ‘Why did the EU provide funding for refugees from Turkey and leave them in the Republic of Turkey?’ “Why is it not possible to help the Belarusians in this way?” Lavrov said.