Sunday November 14, 2021
Border guards are sounding the alarm
Poland: Belarus prepares border storm
Thousands of migrants have been waiting on the Polish-Belarusian border for days. Now the situation could worsen. Belarus is preparing the people to storm the border, is a new allegation from Poland. Meanwhile, the Foreign Office in Berlin warns of lies.
Poland’s border guards have accused the security forces in Belarus of preparing migrants stuck at the common border to break through the barrier. At the border town of Kuznica, many tents had disappeared in the camp on the Belarusian side, the border guards wrote on Twitter. “The foreigners get instructions, tools and tear gas from the Belarusian security forces.” Meanwhile, the German Foreign Office in Berlin denied that the federal government wanted to bring migrants to Germany and Latvia began a previously unannounced military maneuver on the border with Belarus.
Regarding the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border, the Polish Ministry of Defense announced that the refugees had gathered branches from the forest. In addition, many Belarusian media are present. The Polish police warned the migrants via loudspeaker announcements in English: “If you do not follow the instructions, violence will be used.”
This information cannot be verified independently because Poland has declared a state of emergency in the border region. Journalists and helpers are not allowed in. This also applies to the border area on the Belarusian side. On Poland’s border with Belarus, thousands of migrants on the Belarusian side have been waiting for several days at temperatures around freezing point in makeshift camps in the forest. The Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko is accused of bringing refugees from crisis regions to the EU’s external border in an organized manner.
Opposition Belarusian Telegram channels posted videos on Sunday afternoon allegedly showing larger groups of migrants approaching the Polish border. “There are more and more migrants”, it was said about the medium Nexta.
Foreign Office warns of “lies”
At the same time, the Foreign Office in Berlin contradicted rumors that Germany was planning a transit for migrants on the Polish-Belarusian border. “Whoever spreads these lies puts people in great danger,” said the ministry on Twitter.
Poland had already started to warn migrants of the rumors with automatically sent SMS. The message circulated among migrants that buses from Germany would pick up the refugees on November 15 and that Poland had given their consent to transit, it said in the short message. “That is a lie and nonsense! Poland will continue to protect its border with Belarus.”
The SMS in English would be received by everyone whose cell phones were within range of Polish cell phones in the border area, wrote Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski on Twitter. The short message contains a link to the website of his ministry, where this message can be found in five languages.
Latvia holds unannounced maneuvers
Latvia started a previously unannounced military exercise in the south-east of the EU country on the border with Belarus over the weekend. Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said on Latvian television that around 3,000 soldiers from the regular armed forces and volunteer army from the Baltic EU and NATO countries will take part.
According to a spokeswoman for the Defense Ministry in Riga, the maneuver, which will run until December 12, is intended to train large-scale cooperation between various military units and command structures as well as logistics and mobility. The member states of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) – including Russia and Belarus – have been informed about the exercise, she told the Leta agency.
At a meeting in Brussels this Monday, the foreign ministers of the EU states want to adopt a new sanction instrument against those involved in the smuggling of migrants to Belarus. Among other things, it is to be used against the state-owned Belarusian airline Belavia. In the future, this company will no longer receive machines from companies that lease aircraft. The aim is that Belavia will then no longer be able to fly as many people from poor or conflict-ridden countries to Belarus to be smuggled on to the EU.