Poland strengthens security at Belarusian border
WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Poland is stepping up security at its border with Belarus, on the eastern border of the European Union, following reports that a large group of migrants in Belarus are heading to a point of passage, officials said Monday.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Twitter that more than 12,000 troops have been deployed at the border, compared to 10,000 soldiers who were there recently. He added that a voluntary territorial defense force has been put on alert.
He said his ministry, together with the Interior Ministry, which is responsible for police and border guards, is “ready to defend the Polish border.
He also posted video footage of what appeared to be a large group of migrants just across the border in Belarus.
A spokeswoman for Polish border guards, Ewelina Szczepanska, said the presence of guards, police and military personnel has been stepped up at the border.
She said videos posted online could be seen of migrants heading for the crossing at Kuznica in the northeast.
Polish security service spokesman Stanislaw Zaryn posted a video on Twitter showing hundreds of people walking down a street.
“Very disturbing information coming from the border”, added Zaryn
Since the summer, Poland has come under increasing pressure from migrants from the Middle East and Africa trying to cross into the EU. Poland blocks these attempts or sends back those who cross into Belarus.
Warsaw and the EU say it is an organized move by the Belarusian government to destabilize the bloc in retaliation for Western sanctions.
Polish border guards reported incidents of hostile behavior and threats from Belarusian forces directed across the border against Polish forces.