Poland fears armed border escalation – sport news football96

Poland has warned of a possible “armed” escalation on its border with Belarus.

Additional troops were deployed after desperate crowds tried to cut through a barbed wire border fence.

Poland, the European Union and NATO all say Belarus is orchestrating the problem, a claim contested by its controversial leader.

Poland says it is closing an important border crossing at Kuznica.

Up to 4,000 people are now affected by the refugee crisis on Poland’s eastern border, officials in Warsaw say. Night temperatures at the border have dropped below zero and several people have died in the past few weeks.

EU and NATO members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia have seen an increase in the number of people trying to enter their countries illegally from Belarus in recent months. Many are young men, but also women and children, mostly from the Middle East and Asia.

Activists say they are being used as pawns in a political game between non-EU Belarus led by authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko and its neighbors. EU officials complain about an ongoing hybrid attack by Belarus.

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The spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency Shabia Mantoo said she was very concerned about the recent scenes: “The use of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants for political purposes is unacceptable and must stop.”

Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller told reporters that at some point “an escalation … that will be armed in nature” is expected.

Polish television reported that many of the migrants gathered near Kuznica were accompanied by armed people with dogs.

The head of the National Security Department of Poland, Stanislaw Zaryn, said the migrants were under the control of Belarusian armed forces. “Belarus wants to cause a major incident, preferably with gunshots and injuries,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk earlier.

The Belarusian Defense Ministry rejected the Polish statements as unfounded and unfounded and accused Warsaw of violating agreements with thousands of troops at the border.

Russia, meanwhile, praised its Belarusian ally’s “responsible” handling of the border dispute and said it is closely monitoring the situation.

The EU accuses the Belarusian head of state of provoking the influx in retaliation against the bloc’s sanctions.

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READ MORE: How Belarus is helping “tourists” invade the EU

It imposed the measures following Lukashenko’s crackdown on mass protests following the widely discredited presidential elections last year and the arrest of a journalist critical of the regime on board a Ryanair flight who had to land in Minsk.

The President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said the EU would extend the sanctions to “airlines from third countries” that are involved in the entry of migrants to Belarus.

Lukashenko has accused border guards in neighboring EU countries of being violent towards migrants. Interior Minister Ivan Kubrakov said the migrants arrived legally in Belarus and “as a hospitable country, we are always ready to welcome everyone”.

Germany on Tuesday called on the EU to take “measures” to help Poland secure its borders.

Lithuania has also moved troops to its border with Belarus in preparation for a possible influx of migrants.

BBC’s Paul Adams spoke to Barwa Nusreddine Ahmed, the brother of an Iraqi migrant who was on the Polish border with his wife and three children. They arrived in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, last month.

Because they had little to eat and drink, those stuck at the border suffered, Ahmed said.

He said Monday’s move to the border post was planned by the migrants themselves on social media, but hinted that Belarus was pushing them.

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“People know that they are being used [by Mr. Lukashenko], but they have no future,” said Ahmed.

Tensions heightened Monday when videos posted on social media showed a large column of people, including women and children, walking towards the Polish border in Belarus.

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