Polish police to help Lithuania protect its border

"We must, and we want to, support the Lithuanians," Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński said on Monday, adding that Poland always showed solidarity. Albert Zawada/PAP

Polish police officers will travel to Lithuania to help secure the border against migrants crossing into the country from Belarus.

The dispatch of a group of 53 officers follows a request for help from the Lithuanian government owing to the increasing numbers of migrants, who are, according to the Polish and Lithuanian government, being pushed across the border by the Belarusian authorities.

"We must, and we want to, support the Lithuanians," Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński said on Monday, adding that Poland always showed solidarity.

On Monday, Kamiński and Jarosław Szymczyk, the head of the police, met the officers leaving for Lithuania.

"We have been dealing with a cynical game by the Belarusian regime on the Polish and Lithuanian border," Kamiński said. "This is an act of revenge on the Polish and Lithuanian states for having become a safe place for representatives of the Belarusian opposition.

"You will be there to support operations designed to protect the independence and sovereignty of the borders of our neighbour," he added.

The number of migrants from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other countries trying to cross the Belarusian border into neighbouring EU states has increased sharply in recent months.

Many people have tried to get into Lithuania as well as Poland, Latvia and Estonia, which have accused Belarus of organising the transfer of immigrants to its territory as part of a "hybrid war".

"The situation in Lithuania is difficult," he said. "Over the recent weeks, there has been migration pressure on the Lithuanian border, which is the EU's external frontier," Kamiński added.