Migrant crisis | Poland accuses Belarus of changing its tactics

On Saturday, Poland’s defense minister said Belarus has changed course in the crisis with its neighbor Poland, and is now directing smaller groups of migrants to multiple points along the European Union’s eastern border.

“We have to prepare for the fact that this problem will continue for months,” Polish Minister Mariusz Blaszczak told commercial radio station RMFFM.

“Now a slightly different method has been adopted by the immigrants and the Belarusian services… Small groups of people are trying to cross the border in many places,” he said.

To this was added a crowd of 200 people armed with stones and tear gas, directed attacks “undoubtedly by the Belarusian services,” according to the minister.

The West accuses Belarus of artificially creating the crisis by bringing in potential migrants – mostly from the Middle East – and bringing them to the borders, promising them easy passage to the European Union. Belarus denied the accusation, blaming the European Union instead for not welcoming the migrants.

Photo by Nikolai Petrov, BELTA via AP

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told the BBC on Friday that it was “quite possible” that his forces had helped people cross into the European Union, but denied organizing the operation.

We are slav. We have a heart. Our forces know that the immigrants are going to Germany…Maybe someone helped them. But I didn’t invite them here.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus

The migrants – mostly Iraqi Kurds – left everything in their homeland, spending thousands of dollars to travel to Belarus on tourist visas, bent on making it to the European Union.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic on Friday called for an end to controversial returns of migrants from Poland to Belarus.

“I have personally heard the harrowing tales of the extreme suffering of desperate people who have spent weeks, even months, in harsh and harsh conditions, in the cold and damp of the forest, because of these re-runs,” she said. In a press release.

According to Polish media, at least 11 migrants have died since the crisis began this summer. Poland last week staged the first burial of a migrant – a Syrian teenager who drowned in the border river Bug – and two more are scheduled for this weekend.

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