“massive” wave of migrants has reached Poland’s border from Belarus, with the country’s special services describing it as the largest-ever attempt to enter the country by force.
The would-be asylum seekers hoping to cross over the wooded frontier are predominantly young males, Stanislaw Zaryn, the spokesman for Poland’s Minister-Coordinator of Special Services said on Monday.
“The group of migrants gathered in a large crowd by the Belarusians comprises mostly young men. The biggest attempt to date to enter Poland by force has just begun,” Zaryn said on Twitter.
official also reiterated accusations that Minsk is controlling and directing the migrant flow toward Poland, insisting the new crowd is under the “strict control of armed Belarusians.”
“They decide which way the group goes. This is another Belarusian hostile action aimed at Poland,” Zaryn said earlier in the day in a separate tweet, sharing a video purportedly shot from Belarus, close to the demarcation line.
Warsaw has ramped up its border security, seeking to fend off the illegal migrant flow, with 23,000 attempted border crossings registered this year, according to Polish figures. Last month, the country also approved a new $400 million border fence project, designed to keep the migrants out.
The situation on the border between the two nations has gotten progressively more tense since June, after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced Minsk would no longer make any effort to stop the migrants, primarily originating from the Middle East, who seek to reach the EU through his country.
Both Poland and Brussels have repeatedly accused Belarus of “weaponizing” migration, laying on flights from troubled destinations like Iraq and Iran and encouraging people to make the crossing. Officials have branded this purported plan as a form of hybrid warfare by Minsk.