President sends humanitarian aid to Belarus border region
At the request of Polish President Andrzej Duda, humanitarian aid will be sent to Belarus to help migrants stuck at the border, a presidential aide said on Saturday.
Bogna Janke also said that Duda appealed to Belarusian authorities to accept the aid - two previous consignments having been refused - as well as for common sense and humanitarian treatment of people stuck at the border.
Poland has been experiencing heightened migratory pressure at its border with Belarus in recent months, accusing Belarus's President Alexander Lukashenko regime of engineering the crisis by bringing in Middle Eastern and African migrants with the promise of onward travel to the EU.
Taking part in a briefing at the premises of the Government Strategic Reserves Agency, Janke said that after receiving a report from the government and security services on the situation at the border, Duda had raised the initiative of gathering and transporting humanitarian aid.
"The prime minister took up the initiative and that transport will go today to the border crossing," Janke said.
"President Andrzej Duda appeals to the Belarusian authorities to accept that humanitarian aid for people who are camped in that country, lured by the promise of entering the EU and unfortunately stuck in Belarus," Janke told the briefing. "Due to the cold and the weather, the president appeals to the Belarusian government for common sense and humanitarian behaviour towards those people."
President Duda took to Twitter later in the day to announce the decision.
"Immigrants camping on the Belarusian side of the border need to be helped," he tweeted. "I appeal to Belarus to let the aid in. In the lorries are tents, beds and blankets."
Duda also said that he had raised the initiative during a meeting with the prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki.
A meeting to discuss the situation at the border was held on Wednesday at the National Security Bureau, attended by Duda, Morawiecki, the commander in chief of the Border Guard, the defence and interior ministers and a deputy foreign minister.