Fears of violence escalate on Poland-Belarus border as thousands of migrants set up camp
Thousands of migrants have erected makeshift camps in freezing conditions near the border between Poland and Belarus. Concerns over the potential for violence intensified Tuesday as Poland has accused Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko of attempting to orchestrate a crisis on the eastern frontier by funneling migrants to the border. Poland claims that this is retaliation by Belarus for sweeping sanctions imposed on Minsk by the bloc and other Western powers in June. However, Lukashenko has repeatedly denied the claims and has placed blame on the West for dangerous border crossings and the poor treatment of migrants.
On Tuesday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki warned that the situation was risking the stability of the entire European Union, blaming Belarus again for manufacturing a hybrid attack. Morawiecki visited soldiers at the border on Tuesday, stating that Poland will not be intimidated by Belarus’s attack attempts and will defend peace alongside NATO and the EU. The border was closed Tuesday after huge numbers of migrants were seen congregating the day before. There are currently 4,500 migrants near the border at Kuznica attempting to cross into Poland from Belarus, according to reports from border patrol forces. Roughly 14,000 Polish forces such as soldiers, police, and border guards, are now stationed in the area and sparking fears of a major confrontation.