Migrant crisis | Poland accuses Belarus of changing its tactics

(Warsaw) Poland said on Saturday that neighboring Belarus has changed course, now driving small groups of migrants to multiple points on the European Union’s eastern border.

“We have to prepare for the fact that this problem will continue for months,” Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak told commercial radio station RMFFM.

“Now, a slightly different method has been adopted by the Belarusian immigrants and services … Small groups of people are trying to cross the border in many places,” the minister said.

The day before, Polish authorities counted 195 crossing attempts and 82 expelled migrants.

The largest group consisted of about 200 foreigners, others several dozen. “The foreigners were aggressive, threw stones and used tear gas,” Polish border guards said on Twitter on Saturday.

Photo by Nikolai Petrov, BELTA via AP

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko

According to the minister, these attacks are directed “without any doubt by the Belarusian services.”

For its part, the Belarusian State Boundary Commission stressed that “efforts to push back refugees with force and brutality from the territory of neighboring member states of the European Union are continuing.”

In Warsaw, several hundred people expressed their rejection of the call to “save the people at the border!” “No one is illegal,” they chant.

In Hagnoka, a town on the Belarusian border, members of the “Mothers on the Border” group gathered to support the rights of the exiles.

Thousands of migrants, mostly Iraqi Kurds, were stranded for days in a cold, damp forest on the border with Poland, hoping to reach Western Europe.

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The West accuses Belarus of artificially fomenting the crisis by issuing visas in retaliation for Western sanctions against the regime.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko admitted on Friday that it was “quite possible” that his forces had helped people cross into the European Union, but denied organizing the operation.

“We are slav. We have a heart. He said our forces know the migrants are going to Germany…maybe someone helped them. “But I didn’t invite them here,” he said.

On Thursday, Belarus raised the presence of 7,000 immigrants on its territory.

On Thursday, about 400 of them were flown back to Iraq, and about 2,000 of them took refuge in the hangar of a logistics center near the border.

Their situation remains precarious, according to the representative of the High Commissioner for Refugees in Belarus, Mosolio Mamo, who visited the center on Saturday.

“If you ask me if the living conditions are good there, I will tell you no,” he was quoted by Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency as saying. Food, care and clothing: “There are a lot missing,” he said.

A representative of the World Health Organization has arrived at the site to help organize medical support for migrants, according to the Belarusian health minister.

The Yemeni foreign minister said he is working to repatriate its nationals, eight in Belarus and nine from the Polish side.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic called on Friday for an end to the controversial returns of migrants from Poland to Belarus.

According to Polish media, at least 11 migrants have died since the crisis began this summer.

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