Poland fears armed border escalation with Belarus

Poland fears armed border escalation with Belarus
Many migrants have been trapped on the border between Poland and Belarus. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: Poland fears of a possible “armed” escalation on its border with Belarus, fearing that Belarus may try to provoke an incident – many of them young men but also women and children – with hundreds of migrants seeking to cross into the EU.

Extra soldiers have been deployed after desperate crowds tried to cut a barbed-wire border fence.

Poland, Nato and the European Union say Belarus is orchestrating the problem, a claim denied by its disputed leader.

The Polish government says it is shutting a major border crossing at Kuznica.

In recent months, Nato and EU members Poland, Latvia and Lithuania have all seen a surge in the number of people trying to enter their countries illegally from Belarus. Many of them have come from Asia and the Middle East.

Temperatures in night at the border have slumped below zero and several migrants have already died in recent weeks.

Activists say the migrants are being used as pawns in a political game between non-EU Belarus, run by authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko, and its neighbours.

Piotr Muller, Polish government spokesman, said up to 4,000 migrants had gathered near Poland’s eastern border and told reporters that at some point they expected “an escalation… which will be of an armed nature”.

Polish TV said many of the migrants gathering near Kuznica were accompanied by armed individuals with dogs.

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