Poland may prolong state of emergency at border

Artur Reszko/PAP

The recently-introduced 30 day state of emergency in areas near Poland's border with Belarus may be prolonged, Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, has said.

On Thursday, President Andrzej Duda declared a state of emergency in the regions bordering Belarus, as prompted by the government. The move is designed to stem the rising migration crisis that Poland says has been triggered by the Belarusian strongman, Alexander Lukashenko, who allegedly has been bringing migrants from the Middle East and then pushing them across the EU border in retaliation for sanctions that Brussels has imposed on Minsk.

"If there is such a need, the 30 days will be prolonged because the border must be protected," the prime minister told private radio broadcaster RMF FM on Saturday.

"We cannot allow our eastern border to be freely crossed by illegal migrants," he added.

Morawiecki also expressed concerns about the Zapad-2021 military exercises that Russia and Belarus will start next week.

"It's not a game, they are serious military exercises just beyond our border," the prime minister said.

Russia and Belarus hold the large-scale Zapad (West) war games every four years. In 2017, the exercises were held in areas bordering Poland, the Baltic States, Ukraine and Finland.