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Poland says Belarus, Russia behind new migrant influx

August 7, 2023

Poland's border guard called on the Polish Defense Ministry to deploy 1,000 additional troops on its border with Belarus. Minsk faces accusations that it is using migrants as a means of "hybrid warfare" against the EU.

Polish border guards patrol along metal wall on Poland-Belarus border
Poland is set to send additional troops to its already heavily fortified border with BelarusImage: Michal Dyjuk/AP/picture alliance

Poland on Monday accused Belarus' and Russia's secret services of organizing an influx of migrants into the European Union through the Polish border.

"We're talking about an operation organized by the Russian and Belarusian secret services that is getting more and more intense," Polish Deputy Interior Minister Maciej Wasik said.

"We need many more forces at the border," he said, according to Polish news agency PAP.

He said that the situation "is not as chaotic today as it was two years ago," when thousands of migrants were left stranded on the Poland-Belarus border.

In 2021, tens of thousands of migrants attempted to cross into Poland from neighboring Belarus. At the time, Western governments accused Minsk of orchestrating a "hybrid" attack, a charge denied by Belarus.

Poland erects new border fence with Belarus

Border guard requests military reinforcements

On Monday, the border guard called on the defense ministry to send 1,000 additional troops to the border.

Polish border guard chief Tomasz Praga said that Belarusian secret services had become "a criminal group that is masterminding illegal immigration" and had been "making huge profits from it."

"This would not be possible without the involvement of Belarusian authorities," he said.

According to Praga, 19,000 migrants have attempted entry into Poland from Belarus so far in 2023, compared to 16,000 during the previous year.

The border guard said that 160 migrants tried to enter Poland from Belarus on Sunday and 147 attempted the crossing on Sunday.

So far, 5,000 border guards and 2,000 soldiers have already been deployed to Poland's border with Belarus.

The Polish army has already deployed additional troops to the east because of the presence of the Wagner private paramilitary group in Belarus.

sdi/wd (AFP, dpa)