Poland says Russia involved in migration crisis on border with Belarus
A senior Polish security official has accused Russia of involvement in the migration crisis on Poland's border with Belarus.
Stanislaw Zaryn, the director of the National Security Department, also said Russia wants to avoid being linked to the situation, which has seen hundreds of migrants trying to cross into Poland from Belarus in an operation apparently orchestrated by the Belarusian government.
"In our opinion, the migration crisis has been going on with Russia's significant support," Zaryn told PAP on Thursday.
"By strengthening its border with Belarus, Poland is giving a signal that attempts to destabilise this country will fail," he added.
According to Zaryn, a significant number of the migrants trying to cross the Polish border are being sent to Belarus from Russia, while Moscow is "one of the air transport hubs." He explained that some migrants had already admitted that they had been sent to Belarus from Russia.
The official added that Poland had at its disposal hard evidence confirming Russia's participation in what was going on at the border.
Zaryn also said that Moscow's actions have been visible in many areas such as "the energy pressure exerted by Russia on our region has been mounting."
He also mentioned "attempts to blackmail the EU with gas prices, which are being manipulated by Russia in order to win the fastest possible start of Nord Stream 2."
"These are the elements of a puzzle which show that the Belarusian-Russian side has been getting more and more aggressive towards Poland," he said, adding that "both the migration pressure and the entire context make us evaluate the situation as serious."
Poland has been struggling to stem the flow of Middle Eastern and African migrants crossing into Poland from Belarus. The government says the migrants have been invited to Belarus by Alexander Lukashenko, the country's president, allegedly under the promise they will be able to live in the EU.
The Polish government wants to build a wall along the Polish-Belarusian border to stop migrants.