Poland summons Belarusian Charge d'affaires over border standoff

The Polish foreign ministry has summoned the Belarusian charge d’affaires Alaksandr Czasnouski over the situation at the border, where there has been a surge in migration, PAP has learnt from its sources.

Poland introduced a state of emergency along the Belarusian border owing to increasing numbers of migrants crossing into Poland from Belarus. Poland, along with the Baltic States, has accused Belarus of pushing migrants across the border as part of a deliberate policy to destabilise the EU.

Since August, the Polish Border Guard has thwarted over 10,000 illegal attempts to cross the Polish-Belarusian border, and 1,500 migrants have been detained and taken to refugee centres.

On Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said that Poland had sent a note to the authorities in Minsk with a proposal to send humanitarian aid to help the migrants on the border.

But on Wednesday, Belarus rejected the Polish offer. Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Anatoly Glaz said that Poland’s proposal to send aid convoys "is politicking and populist rhetoric, unrelated to reality and the situation."

According to Glaz, "the hasty unilateral decisions of the Polish authorities to send something without sense, request or even consent of a partner are a manifestation of a concrete disregard for Belarusian statehood and sovereignty."

He accused Poland of "beating refugees half to death" on its territory and pushing them back across the Polish-Belarusian border, including disabled children.

He said that the Polish authorities had introduced a state of emergency on the border "to hide it" and that Poland ignores the decisions of international organisations.

Earlier on Friday, a spokeswoman for Poland's Border Guards Anna Michalska said Belarusian forces opened fire at Polish troops across the border on Thursday.

She said no one was hurt and that most likely blank ammunition was used.

Czasnouski, leaving the Polish foreign ministry of Foreign Affairs a moment earlier, told reporters that "the information about the shots is untrue."

The spokesman for the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lukasz Jasina, said that during the meeting Czasnouski had been informed about Poland's stance on the incidents taking place on the Polish-Belarusian border.

Asked about Czasnouski's words , Jasina said: "We have evidence that shots were fired."

He also declared that "if necessary, this evidence will be provided to the Belarusian side..., to the public and other states."