Belarusian soldiers tried to push dozens of migrants across the Polish border

Leonid Shcheglov, ČTK/AP

Polish police claimed that Belarusian soldiers between the two countries unsuccessfully tried to push dozens of migrants, mainly women and children, into Poland on Thursday evening. It is known that thousands of people from crisis areas live on the Belarusian side of the border fence.

“In the area of Kuźnica Białostocka, the Belarusian army unsuccessfully tried to forcefully push 35 people, mostly women, and children, to the Polish side,” said Tomasz Krupa, a spokesman for the Polish police. He added that about 200 people were at the site, guarded by Belarusian soldiers, on Friday morning.

A state of emergency is in force in Poland’s border zone, with neither aid workers nor journalists allowed to enter the area. The media reporting on the migration crisis is therefore dependent on information from the authorities.

Activists from the humanitarian organization Grupa Granica, which helps migrants who manage to reach the Polish side of the border, reported a case in which someone attacked three refugees. In the vicinity of the village of Hajnówka, the migrants met people who looked like Europeans, and they assumed them to be locals. They asked them for water. However, the migrants said that these people beat and robbed them.

Recordings of conversations of migrants who have reached Belarus are appearing on the Internet. One of them, for example, shows a map of Europe leading the way to get to Germany, where a large number of the refugees appear to be heading, and how to avoid the Belarusian-Polish border. This alternative route goes via Ukraine, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, or from Slovakia to Austria.

Both Poland and the European Union accuse Belarus’s authoritarian President, Alexander Lukashenko, of allowing people in desperate situations from countries such as Iraq and Syria to be imported into Belarus to use them as weapons in a hybrid war.