Armed response to border situation a last resort says gov't spokesman

"Using arms is the last thing we want to do," Mueller said. Leszek Szymański/PAP

Using arms is that last thing the Polish government wants to do in the face of an escalating migration crisis at its border with Belarus, the government's spokesman said on Monday after an emergency meeting between the president and ministers.

Piotr Mueller said the meeting had discussed various scenarios of a hybrid war being conducted by Belarus, which Warsaw accuses of engineering a migration crisis at its borders with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

He added that there were three to four thousand migrants on the Belarusian side of the border and at least 10,000 more waiting to cross into Poland.

"Using arms is the last thing we want to do," he said. "When it comes to the scenario of hybrid war, which is de facto being conducted by Belarus, it was discussed, but that information, details in that area, are classified."

He went on to say that Belarusian authorities were organising transports from Arab countries in order to reinforce the numbers of migrants preparing to cross into the EU.

Several attempts were made by migrants to force the border en masse on Monday in the region of the village of Kuźnica.

Mueller said that numerous provocative incidents involving Belarusian uniformed services were discussed, and added that activities "of a military nature" were expected to increase at the border. He said weapons had been aimed at Polish officers and that blanks had been fired.

"Of course the officer on our side could not know for sure if they were blanks or live rounds," he said, explaining that shots had also been fired into the air.

The head of the National Security Bureau, Paweł Soloch, said the president and government were considering various measures to deal with the crisis and were in constant contact with Nato and EU partners. He also said that new and increased sanctions should be imposed on the Belarusian authorities by the EU.