Poland seals eastern border against irregular migrants

Poland is reinforcing the protection of its eastern border to prevent illegal migration from the Middle East via Belarus, deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Poland is strengthening its eastern border to prevent illegal migration from the Middle East via Belarus, a deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Pawel Jablonski said that Poland had noted "increasing migratory pressure" from the Middle East on the Polish-Belarus border.

According to the Government Information Centre (CIR), only in August this year, 1,935 people tried to cross the Polish-Belarusian border illegally, the Border Guard prevented 1,175 people from crossing the border, and 760 foreigners were placed in detention centres.

Jablonski said he believes this is "an organised action," and the situation is "analogous to the one faced by Lithuanians on their section of the border with Belarus."

"We are analysing the situation, monitoring and strengthening the protection of our border in order to prevent illegal migration," he added.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, speaking at a conference in the southern town Kamieniec Zabkowicki, said: "As for the refugees who are being used by Mr. Lukashenko, I can say that we must protect the territory of the Republic of Poland and, of course, it must depend on us who we let in and who we do not. It cannot be that Mr. Lukashenko's blackmail forces us to accept everyone.

"A serious, sovereign state protects its external borders. Today, the army also came to the aid of the Border Guard, thank you soldiers, thank you the Border Guard for the effective protection of our eastern border," Morawiecki eadded.

In recent months, Lithuania, which saw increasing numbers of illegal migrants from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other countries, has accused Belarus of organising their transfer to its territory as part of a "hybrid war."

After Lithuania passed legislation allowing its border authorities to send migrants back to Belarus, they diverted to the borders with Latvia and Poland. The Latvian government also decided to return migrants to the country from which they came and declared a state of emergency in border areas.