Thursday, October 14, 2021
Against refugees from Belarus
Poland plans “strong and high barrier” at the border
The situation on the border between Poland and Belarus is reaching a critical point. Poland’s parliament votes in favor of building a barrier to curb the flow of refugees. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Maas accuses the Belarusian ruler Lukashenko of being involved in organized crime.
Poland’s parliament approved the government’s plan to build a permanent fortification on the border with Belarus. The background for this is the growing number of migrants from crisis areas who want to enter the EU illegally via Belarus. During the vote, the majority of the deputies supported the project, which, according to the Interior Minister, Mariusz Kaminski, foresees the construction of a “solid and high barrier with a surveillance system and motion detectors”.
Polish officials speak of a “barrier” or “lock”; they avoid the term “wall” used by the opposition. The Warsaw government has accused the Belarusian ruler, Alexander Lukashenko, of bringing refugees from crisis regions to the EU’s external border in an organized manner. Lukashenko announced in late May that his country would no longer prevent migrants from continuing to travel to the EU, in response to the tightening of Western sanctions.
Poland began building a temporary fence along the border in late August. It is a barbed wire barricade about 2.50 meters high, which is being erected by soldiers of the Polish army. This will now be replaced by a permanent barrier. A budget equivalent to 366 million euros is planned for the project. After the Sejm, the first chamber of parliament, has passed the bill, it now goes to the second chamber, the Senate.
The seventh migrant is found dead
Meanwhile, another migrant has been found dead on Poland’s border with Belarus. The man’s body was discovered on Wednesday in a field near the town of Klimowka, Polish police said on Twitter. According to a police spokesman, he is a 24-year-old Syrian. Federal Chancellor Heiko Maas, for his part, held the airlines jointly responsible for the precarious situation of refugees who want to reach Europe via Belarus. Police assume that the Syrian migrant had previously been to Belarus because he had a Belarusian visa issued in mid-September, the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper spokesman said.
According to official information, a total of seven people died on the border between Belarus and Poland, a member of the EU, in recent weeks. The circumstances remained largely unclear. Since August, thousands of migrants, mostly from the Middle East, have tried to cross the Polish border from Belarus.
Belarusian authorities are believed to be selectively bringing immigrants into the country and smuggling them to the borders with eastern EU states. In addition to Poland, Lithuania and Latvia also complain about the increased arrival of migrants to their borders with Belarus. In recent weeks, Warsaw has stationed thousands of soldiers at the border, erected a barbed wire fence and imposed a state of emergency that bars journalists and aid organizations from accessing the entire 400-kilometer border.
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas jointly held the airlines responsible for the fate of the refugees. “Every day hundreds of desperate people arrive at the Minsk airport,” Maas told the “Bild” newspaper. Lukashenko lured them with false promises to send them on a dangerous and illegal trip to the EU. “The airlines that transport these people are helping those in power in Minsk.” Companies should ask themselves whether they want to “be part of an international unscrupulous smuggling ring under the leadership of Lukashenko.” Maas announced that he would like to discuss this issue with his colleagues at the EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday.
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