Belarus actively facilitates migrants at border, says ruling party leader

Kaczyński, who is regarded as Poland's most powerful politician, said among the migrants camped at the border were Afghans who had lived for many years in Russia and had no connection with the recent evacuations from Kabul. Artur Reszko/PAP

Belarusian security personnel help migrants cut through defensive fencing on the country's border with Poland, Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice party, has claimed.

Speaking after a sitting of the Committee on National Security and Defence Affairs in the north-eastern city of Białystok, Jarosław Kaczyński, who chairs the committee, also said there is no pressure from refugees at the Belarusian border, only from economic migrants who are taken there by the Belarusian authorities.

Areas in Poland adjacent to the border have been under a state of emergency since September 2, due to migratory pressure Warsaw blames on Minsk.

Kaczyński, who is regarded as Poland's most powerful politician, said among the migrants camped at the border were Afghans who had lived for many years in Russia and had no connection with the recent evacuations from Kabul.

"These people are then led to where there is a possibility of crossing the border, and it happens, I can't say how often but I have seen it on film, that Belarusian officers personally participate even in cutting the fence, the wires, assisting those attempts - the vast majority of them unsuccessful - to force the border," Kaczyński said.

Kaczyński, who is also a deputy prime minister, went on to claim the Belarusian authorities deliberately made migrants ill, which he said was intended to have an effect on Polish public opinion.

He added that the security committee had discussed the situation on the Belarusian border and that there was a great deal of information suggesting the crisis was a form of hybrid warfare engineered by Minsk and conducted against both Poland and the EU.

He added that the operation was being conducted by the Belarusian government with the "undoubted support or at least the approval of the government of the Russian Federation."

Migrants, he said, are transported to Minsk where they are put up in hotels and then transported by car to the border, often by the Belarusian Border Guard, though he said other services were probably also involved.

An area about a kilometre wide, he claimed, existed on the Belarusian side of the border where normal citizens are not allowed. "The very fact that they are allowed there is obviously proof that we are dealing with activities of the Belarusian state," he said.