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AFP: Poland accuses Belarus, Russia of orchestrating new migrant influx

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 8, 2023 12:08 AM 2 min read
Polish border guards near the new fence on the Polish-Belarusian border near the village of Nowdziel on June 30, 2022, in Podlaskie Voivodeship, Poland. (Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Belarus and Russia are orchestrating a new influx of migrants into the European Union through the Polish border, Deputy Interior Minister Maciej Wasik told AFP reporters on Aug. 7, as cited by the Guardian.

"We're talking about an operation organized by the Russian and Belarusian secret services that is getting more and more intense," Wasik said.

The official added, though, that the situation "is not as chaotic today as it was two years ago."

In 2021, Belarus let thousands of asylum seekers into the country with a pledge of safe entry into the European Union. In November of that year, Belarusian troops escorted thousands of asylum seekers to the Polish border, cutting through the wire fence to allow refugees to cross. Most of them were violently pushed back by Polish border guards who set up a no-access zone at the border for nine months.

"(The Belarusian services have become) a criminal group that is masterminding illegal migration. Of course, they are making huge profits from it," the head of the Polish border guard Tomasz Praga said, according to AFP.

According to Praga, 19,000 migrants have attempted to enter Poland from Belarus this year, with 4,000 in July alone. Last year, a total of 16,000 people tried to cross the border.

In response to an increasing crisis, Poland's border guard asked the defense ministry to deploy more than 1,000 troops to the border with Belarus.

Poland to double the size of military in response to security threat
The size of the Polish military is being nearly doubled in response to the threat posed by Russia and Belarus, Polish deputy prime minister Jarosław Kaczynski said during a visit to the town of Koden near the Belarusian border on July 27.
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