Illegal immigration from Belarus: Poland stays at the border in an emergency

Illegal immigration from Belarus
Poland stays on the border in the event of an emergency

Belarus smuggles refugees westwards, who then end up at the gates of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Behind this is suspected an act of retaliation by Lukashenko for EU sanctions. The state of emergency recently imposed by Poland has now also been confirmed by parliament despite headwinds from the opposition.

Poland’s parliament wants to maintain the state of emergency imposed on the border with Belarus because of the illegal arrival of migrants. A majority of MPs voted against a motion by the opposition to lift the state of emergency. Before the vote, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had called on parliamentarians to unite. “Today we see that scenarios are being written in Moscow and Minsk that endanger our sovereignty and the security of the Polish state,” he said.

Last Thursday, President Andrzej Duda declared a state of emergency in the border region for 30 days. According to the constitution, the parliament has the possibility to repeal the decree. An extension of the state of emergency beyond the 30 days is only possible with the consent of Parliament. According to the regulation, only residents are allowed access to a three-kilometer-wide strip. Journalists are also not allowed in the affected region. It is the first state of emergency in Poland since 1989.

Over the past few months, thousands of migrants from the Middle East have crossed the borders with Belarus to Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – and thus to the European Union. Brussels and the government in Warsaw are accusing the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko of bringing refugees from crisis regions to the EU’s external border in an organized manner. Lukashenko announced at the end of May that Minsk would no longer prevent migrants from continuing to travel to the EU – in response to tightened Western sanctions against the former Soviet republic.

According to its own statements, the Interior Ministry in Warsaw registered around 3,000 attempted illegal border crossings in August. In response, the government dispatched thousands of soldiers to the border and began building a barbed wire fence.