Poland pays high price for supporting Belarusians - dep FM
A Polish deputy foreign minister has stated that Poland has been paying a high price for supporting Belarusians and that the Belarusian president has declared Poland an enemy.
"Instead of meeting the expectations of his own citizens, Alexander Lukashenko has made Poland an enemy. This has led to a spiral of hostile actions," Marcin Przydacz told the Senate (upper house of Poland’s parliament) on Thursday.
"Unfortunately, we have been paying a high price for our activities. We have been facing a gigantic wave of repressions used by Alexander Lukashenko against the Belarusian people. The Polish minority is also being hurt," Przydacz said, while presenting a report on the government's activities regarding the situation in Belarus.
Some of the repressions are, according to Przydacz, the reduction of the Polish diplomatic presence in Belarus and attacks against representatives of the Polish minority.
He added that the culmination of these hostile actions was a direct attack against the leaders of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), Andżelika Borys, the head of the ZPB, and Andrzej Poczobut, a ZPB board member, who are still in prison facing criminal charges.
"Alexander Lukashenko has made the Polish minority a scapegoat," Przydacz stated, adding that the Polish authorities had "taken immediate steps aimed at releasing the arrested people and halting a wave of repressions against Poles living in Belarus."
Seated in Grodno, a city with a large Polish population, the ZPB is the biggest Polish diaspora organisation in Belarus. In 2005, the authorities in Minsk revoked its registration.
The union's statutory activities include nurturing Polishness and Polish culture, teaching the language and maintaining memorial sites.