Polish soldier injured during migrant attack on border with Belarus

Piotr Nowak/PAP

A Polish soldier has been injured during an attack by a group of nearly 200 migrants on the border with Belarus, a spokeswoman for the Border Guard said on Friday.

Anna Michalska told PAP that, on Thursday night, a group of people tried to cross the Polish border near the village of Czeremchy, north-eastern Poland. The injured soldier had been transported to hospital, where he received stitches for a head wound.

She added that, this time, the incident looked completely different than the previous attempts to enter Poland.

"A nearly 200-strong group showed up at the border very quickly, out of nowhere," she said, adding that, at the time of the attack, Belarusian services blinded Polish soldiers and border guards with laser and strobe lights.

"The group was very aggressive. They were throwing stones and tree branches," she continued.

According to Michalska, the attack was carefully orchestrated by the Belarusian services. "We know that foreigners have been instructed," she said.

Poland has been struggling to stem a wave of migrants trying to cross its eastern border from Belarus. EU members accuse the Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, of instigating the crisis in order to destabilise the bloc.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been over 37,000 attempts to illegally cross the Polish border from Belarus, including over 8,000 in November and nearly 17,300 in October.