Thousands of migrants in Belarus, says gov't spokesman

About 10,000 Middle Eastern migrants who could be pushed across the border into Poland, Lithuania and Latvia are now in Belarus, a spokesperson for the Polish government said on Wednesday.

In recent weeks, the three countries have observed increasing numbers of migrants crossing into their territories from Belarus and, also, about 30 Middle Eastern migrants have been stuck for three weeks on the Polish-Belarusian border after being refused entry by Poland.

The three countries have accused Belarus of deliberately sending migrants to their borders in an effort to destabilise the EU.

Piotr Mueller said on Polish Radio 24 that the migrants had been brought to Belarus "in an organised way," and were to be sent into the EU across the Polish, Lithuanian and Latvian borders. He said there were probably 10,000 Middle Eastern migrants in Belarus today and stressed that the EU could not accept them.

"We cannot permit this and we are happy... to see that the European Commission and other EU countries are behind us when it comes to reinforcing the (EU - PAP) borders," Mueller said.

On Friday, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border was not so much a migration problem but a sign of the aggressive policy of Belarus towards Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

On Tuesday, Poland's prime minister said that a 30-day state of emergency will be introduced in areas close to the Belarusian border.