The Polish government accuses the Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko of having brought the immigrants from Arab countries with the promise of helping them enter Europe via Belarus to put pressure on the European Union, which this year imposed serious economic sanctions on the country.
This Tuesday, November 9, reports from various media show images of a caravan of at least four thousand immigrants trying to enter Poland by force through the border with Belarus and which triggered the response of the Polish government that sent 12 thousand troops as reinforcement to the 10 thousand already stationed at the border to stop the entry of immigrants.
Polish authorities and leaders of the European bloc accuse the Lukashenko regime of having brought the immigrants from Arab countries to Belarus in private flights with the promise of helping them to enter Europe through the border with Poland to finally try to blackmail the European Union which this year imposed serious economic sanctions on Belarus for its censorship of journalists and opposition politicians.
For his part, Lukashenko claims that the migrants are asylum seekers, although there are records of dozens of weekly flights from Middle Eastern capitals to Minsk, the capital of Belarus.
At an extraordinary session of the Polish parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki went a step further and said that Russia is behind the whole operation.
“This attack which Lukashenko is conducting has its mastermind in Moscow, the mastermind is President Putin,” the Polish prime minister asserted.
His remarks apparently respond to the statements of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who suggested the same day that Poland should pay Belarus to take the migrants back.
Despite human rights organizations pointing out that Poland is violating international conventions by turning away the would-be asylum seekers, the Polish government said it would defend the border and not allow the caravan to enter.
In one of the videos published in the Daily Mail, one of the migrants states that his intention is not to stay in Poland but to get to Germany, where ‘there is real freedom.’
As a preventive measure, the European bloc began the task of convincing the Arab countries from where Lukashenko brings the migrants not to board the flights to Minsk by warning them of the dangers these people face afterward.
Once the migrants arrive in Minsk, they are directly taken to the border where sub-zero temperatures are reported, without water, food, or medical services. The migrants are not allowed to enter Poland, and the Belarusian guard will not let them return either.
Among the migrants, there are children and women; at least 10 of them have turned up dead on the Polish side.
Ursula von der Leyen, leader of the European bloc, called for imposing new sanctions on Belarus and said that the use of migrants “for political purposes is unacceptable.” She also said that the EU would analyze how to sanction “third country airlines” taking migrants to Belarus.
The conflict between Belarus and the European Union began earlier this year when Lukashenko ordered the hijacking of a Ryanair flight carrying a dissident journalist whom the Belarusian government arrested, allegedly for organizing protests against Lukashenko.
The EU imposed economic sanctions on Belarus that seriously affected the country, and tensions escalated after that.