Minister reassures troops after ex-commander's critical letter

Poland's defence minister has pledged the state’s support for members of the army and the Border Guard working on the Polish-Belarusian border after a number of ex-military commanders signed a public letter saying that events on the border were a blow to "military honour."

On Tuesday a former deputy defence minister, an ex-supreme commander of the Polish armed forces, the head of a well-known humanitarian organisation and a popular actress condemned the army and the Border Guard for their role in the migrant crisis on Poland's eastern border with Belarus, and asked for a more humanitarian approach to the migrants.

The authors wrote that the events on the Belarusian border "are a blow to human dignity and military honour," and added that migrants were seeking protection in Poland.

Responding to the letter on Wednesday, Mariusz Blaszczak said it was "absurd to see former generals threatening soldiers who are protecting our borders.".

"I want to say this to all soldiers: the Polish state stands firmly behind you... and is grateful to you," Blaszczak wrote, adding, "let us not allow ourselves to be intimidated by those who want to harm Poland!"

The letter provided the Polish government with unwelcome and high-profile criticism of its policy on the Belarusian border.

Along with claiming that the policy had dealt a blow to military honour, it also said that "security does not rule out humanity."

Over the past few months Poland, Lithuania and Latvia have come under pressure from growing numbers of migrants trying to cross their borders from Belarus.

The three countries have accused the Belarusian government of deliberately pushing the migrants over their border in a move to destabilise the EU.