Poland blames ‘puppet master’ Vladimir Putin for migrant crisis as numbers grow on Belarus border
Poland is blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for its migrant crisis on its border with Belarus.
On Monday there were around 4,000 migrants at the Belarus-Poland border. Poland has reported more than 30,000 attempts to cross this year while the numbers keep rising.
According to Warsaw, the migrants are being steered and directed by Belarusian border guards and troops.
Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko began inviting migrants, largely from west Asia, this summer and encouraged them to head west to cross into Poland.
On Monday around 1,500 migrants ripped down fences and cut barbed wire near the village of Kuźnica in northeastern Poland.
The attempt was blocked by border guards apparently using tear gas but the attempts show no sign of stopping with Belarusian troops blocking the route back to Minsk.
There are fears deaths among the migrants will rise as winter sets in. Several people have already died in recent weeks.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki blamed Putin for what he sees as a form of hybrid warfare.
“This is the latest attack of Lukashenko, who is an executor but has an enabler and this enabler is in Moscow, this enabler is President Putin, which shows a determination to carry out a scenario of rebuilding the Russian empire, the scenario that we, all Poles, have to forcefully oppose,” Morawiecki on Tuesday told an emergency parliamentary session after visiting troops on the border.
He accused Russia and Belarus of trying to destabilise the European Union with “a new type of war in which people are used as human shields” and said Poland was at the centre of a “stage play” designed to create chaos in the EU.
Poland has closed the border crossing at Kuznica, shutting one of two arterial roads between Warsaw and Minsk in a bid to turn back a tide of migrants.
After the imposition of western sanctions earlier this year, Lukashenko threatened to overwhelm the European Union with drugs and migrants.
Poland has deployed more than 12,000 troops, police and national guards to the border to block access. The nationalist Law and Justice party (PiS) government in Poland has found the crisis fits well with its anti-migrant narrative.
Poland has closed the border zone to the media, aid agencies and NGOs with journalists held at a police checkpoint near the border.
Polish deployments are making the border with Belarus feel like a warzone. Picture credit: YouTube