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 - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.11.2021
Poland-Belarus Migrant Crisis
Tensions on the Belarusian-Polish border flared up in November as Middle Eastern and African refugees started arriving in Belarus to cross into the EU. Warsaw claims Belarus orchestrated the crisis, while Minsk blames the Western military ops for the growing migrant flow.
A picture taken on November 8, 2021 shows Poland's law enforcement officers watching migrants at the Belarusian-Polish border.  - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Warsaw Won't Recognise Any Deal on Migrants Between Germany and Belarus Without Poland

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On Tuesday, hundreds of migrants amassed on the Belarus-Poland border, tried to force their way onto European Union territory, clashing with Polish security forces.
The migrant crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border has been brewing since spring, as thousands of people from the Middle East have tried to transit into the EU member country through the territory of Belarus. Poland, as well as Latvia and Lithuania, have accused Belarus of sponsoring the illegal migration, an accusation the Belarusian government has denied.
On Tuesday, the Belarusian-Polish border witnessed attempts by migrants to enter the European Union, trying to tearing down fences on the Polish-Belarus borders, and throwing sticks and rocks at Polish security forces who used tear gas, stun grenades, and water cannons in response.
The Belarusian Health Ministry said that 21 migrants from Morocco, Turkey, Cuba, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Syria, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, and Sudan had sought medical help since border tensions escalated. Four people were hospitalized, including three children.
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18:59 GMT 17.11.2021
Merkel Discusses Migrant Crisis With Polish PM, Emphasizes Solidarity With Warsaw, Berlin Says
18:56 GMT 17.11.2021
UN Supports Migrants at Belarus-Poland Border, Seeks More Access
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) will deliver more humanitarian assistance to the migrants stranded at the Belarus-Poland border and is currently negotiating to be granted more access to the area from both sides, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Wednesday.

“UNHCR tells us that more assistance is on the way such as blankets, warm clothes, gloves, hats and boots for children. Those are to be delivered by the partner organization, which is the Belarusian Red Cross,” Dujarric said. “UNHCR is currently negotiating more regular access to the border on the Belarusian side, as well as discussing access on the Polish side.”

UNHCR has two offices both in the capitals of Minsk and Warsaw, but lacks permanent presence or access at the border on either side, according to Dujarric.

Since the onset of the crisis, Belarus granted UNHCR access four times allowing aid workers to make three visits to a group of Afghan refugees in September, October and, most recently, on November 11, when they delivered emergency aid and food items.

In addition, UNHCR, along with the International Organization for Migration, have been advocating to move migrants to safety away from the border, where they can receive adequate help and counselling, according to their individual needs.

“The two UN agencies stressed that the makeshift camps at the border is not safe and suitable place for people and could lead to further loss of life,” Dujarric added.

Between 2,000 and 4,000 of migrants from Iraq, Syria and other Middle Eastern countries have arrived at the western border of Belarus for past several weeks. Poland has advanced its border guards and deployed the military to thwart the attempts of migrants to enter the country. Warsaw blames the migration crisis on Minsk, which denies the allegation.
18:17 GMT 17.11.2021
Lukashenko, Merkel Come to Understanding on Actions to Resolve Migrants Crisis, Reports Say
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the situation with migrants on the Belarus-EU border during a phone conversation on Wednesday, came to a certain understanding about further actions, Telegram channel Pul Pervogo, close to the Belarusian leader's office, said.

"Lukashenko and Merkel discussed the situation at the border by phone and came to a certain understanding of how to proceed further in resolving existing issues. They agreed that the problem as a whole was brought up to the level of Belarus and the EU, while the relevant officials, who will be chosen from both sides, will immediately enter into negotiations with the aim of resolving the existing problems," the publication says.

It emphasized that "in the same context, the desire of refugees to go to Germany will be resolved."

"Also during the conversation, the president was informed about the request of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the mandatory participation in the process of international organizations dealing with refugees and migrants, which are already actively cooperating with the Belarusian side," the statement says.

Lukashenko and Merkel agreed to maintain contacts in the future, the publication said.
17:46 GMT 17.11.2021
Warsaw Will Not Recognise Any Deal on Migrants Reached Between Germany and Belarus Without Poland
Poland will not recognise any agreement between Germany and Belarus on the migration crisis reached without Warsaw, Poland's President Andrzej Duda said on Wednesday, commenting on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone call with Belarusian and Russian leaders.

"I told the president [of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier] that Poland will not recognize any agreements made, as the saying goes, over our heads," Duda said during the press conference in the capital city of Montenegro, Podgorica.

According to Duda, Steinmeier explained to him that in conversations with Lukashenko and Putin, Merkel only expressed Germany's "firm position" on the migration crisis.

"The president said that Merkel's conversations with both Putin and Lukashenko ... concerned only the presentation of Germany's firm position, which is based on the fact that they should abandon attacks on the border, stop generating this crisis, this hybrid attack," Duda said.
On Monday, Merkel and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko discussed by phone the prospects for resolving the migration crisis and providing humanitarian aid to migrants at the Belarus-Poland border. On 10 November, Merkel also discussed the issue of the migration crisis with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Thousands of migrants amassed just inside Belarus along the border with Poland, near the Bruzgi checkpoint in the Grodno region, in hopes of getting onto the territory of the European Union.

Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania have accused Belarus of facilitating the movement of migrants to the EU to get back at Brussels for sanctions and urged for more punitive measures against Minsk. The latter rejects the accusation and maintains that it is unable to tackle the influx of migrants under the weight of Western sanctions.
16:49 GMT 17.11.2021
Merkel Stresses to Lukashenko Importance of Humanitarian Aid to Migrants in Belarus
Acting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in her latest phone conversation with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko stressed the need to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees in the republic and the possibility of their return home, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

"In a second telephone conversation with Alexander Lukashenko, the Federal Chancellor emphasized the need for humanitarian supplies and the possibility of returning home for those affected with the support of the UN Refugee Agency, the International Organization for Migration and the European Commission," Seibert said on Twitter.
Just as after the first conversation, Lukashenko was not named according to his position. Germany, like the European Union, has not recognized him as a legitimately elected president since August 2020.
15:47 GMT 17.11.2021
Merkel Reportedly Not Ruling Out Financial Aid for Belarus Amid Migration Crisis
15:02 GMT 17.11.2021
Poland's Intentions to Involve NATO in Resolving Migration Crisis on Border With Belarus are Provocative, Dangerous, May Lead to Escalation, Moscow Says
Poland's intentions to involve NATO in resolving the migration crisis on the border with Belarus are provocative, dangerous, and can lead to escalation, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

After a meeting at the Polish National Security Bureau with the participation of Polish President Andrzej Duda, presidential office spokesman Jakub Kumoch, said that NATO allies were offering assistance to Warsaw on the border with Belarus, where migrants had gathered, and Poland was considering this option.

"As for Poland's calls to NATO to take part in resolving the crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border, in general it is provocative and very dangerous. It could lead to unnecessary escalation of the situation," Zakharova said at a briefing.
14:30 GMT 17.11.2021
Lukashenko, Merkel Reportedly Have Another Phone Conversation
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Acting German Chancellor Angela Merkel had another telephone conversation, Telegram channel Pul Prevogo, close to the press service of the Belarusian leader, said on Wednesday.

The publication promised to announce the details later.

Previously, the politicians spoke by phone on the evening of 15 November.
14:29 GMT 17.11.2021
Use of Special Equipment by Poland Against Migrants on Border Inhumane, Moscow Says
The use of special equipment by Poland against migrants on the border with Belarus is inhumane, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

On Tuesday, Minsk said that the Polish security forces had used special equipment containing toxic chemicals against migrants who tried to break into Poland on the Belarusian border.

"In addition to the fact that they did not come from a good life, they are still poured with water in the cold, and this is cold, which is unusual for them, and these are women and children, they are still being poured with some kind of gas, they are threatened with the use of weapons and physical force, and so on," Zakharova said at a briefing.

A real campaign of psychological pressure is being carried out against the migrants: the use of loudspeakers, intimidation, media campaign, which does not provide an opportunity for direct appeal of these people, to defend their position, but "is aimed at only one thing — to confirm the approaches and protecting the correctness of the actions of the relevant authorities, which are taking in relation to these people, these are the inhumane measures that we see," she said.
12:42 GMT 17.11.2021
EU to Allocate 700,000 Euros for Emergency Assistance to Migrants on Belarus-Poland Border
12:41 GMT 17.11.2021
Three Photojournalists Attacked by Polish Soldiers Near Belarus Border, Polish Media Group Says
The Polish media organization Press Club Polska said on Wednesday that people in the uniform of Polish soldiers attacked three photo journalists near the border with Belarus.

"An attack on photojournalists in the village of Wiejki. On Tuesday, November 16, at about 16:00 [13:00 GMT], a group of people in the uniform of the Polish Army attacked three photojournalists: Maciek Nabrdalik, Macieja Moskwe, and Martin Divisek while they were performing their journalistic duties," Press Club Polska said in a statement.

The reporters were shooting not far from Wiejki village, which is outside the area of the state of emergency introduced in September, and then tried to return to the village of Michalow by car, but were stopped by people in Polish army uniforms. The latter pulled them out of the car while "pushing them and using profanity," according to the statement.

The journalists, who were handcuffed and held for more than an hour until the police arrived, described their behavior as "exceptional aggression." As they waited for the police, the soldiers searched the car and checked the contents of the reporters' cameras, the group said.

Upon the arrival of the police, the journalists were released from handcuffs, but when requested to address the situation, the law enforcement officers refused to take any other action besides informing them of the possibilty of filing a criminal complaint.

The photojournalists announced their intention to do just that.

The Polish Defense Ministry denied that any abuse of power took place.

"We flatly disagree that it was an 'attack on photojournalists. The intervention was carried out completely in line with the mandate," the ministry said in a statement issued on Twitter.
12:14 GMT 17.11.2021
Lukashenko Wants Sanctions Relief to End Migrant Crisis, Estonian Foreign Minister Says
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko put forward the condition of recognizing him as the president and lifting the sanctions for ending the migration crisis at the EU borders, Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets said on Wednesday to local broadcaster ETV.

"He wants the sanctions to be stopped, [and] to be recognized as head of state so he can continue," Liimets said.

As clarified by ETV, the matter concerns Lukashenko's condition which he voiced to Merkel during a telephone conversation on Monday. The foreign minister said it was important that the new expanded sanctions agreement prepared by the European Union foreign ministers remained in effect and new sanctions were imposed on Belarus.
11:25 GMT 17.11.2021
Berlin Believes Dialogue With Lukashenko on Migration Crisis Has Sense
Berlin believes that there is a sense in dialogue with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on the migration crisis, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Wednesday.

"In order to improve the worrying humanitarian situation of thousands of people, it makes sense to speak with those in Minsk who have the opportunity to change the situation, even if it is about a ruler whose legitimacy is not recognized by Germany and all other European member states," Seibert told a briefing.
11:17 GMT 17.11.2021
Some 300 Iraqis Ready to Return Home From Belarus, Iraqi Consul to Russia Says
The first flight to take out around 300 Iraqi migrants from Belarus will take place on Thursday, Iraq’s Consul in Russia Majid al-Kilani told Sputnik on Wednesday.

"In the evening we will have exact numbers. The plane will fly to Iraq [from Belarus] tomorrow, on Thursday," al-Kilani said.

According to the consul, the desire to return to their homeland was expressed by "around 300 people, every hour their number increases by one or two."

Earlier in the day, al-Kilani stated that the plane, which will take Iraqi citizens from Belarus, will take off from Minsk and first land in the city of Erbil, and then at the airport of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. The consul have also stressed that the return flights will be free for the migrants.
11:14 GMT 17.11.2021
German Interior Ministry Says Berlin Has No Plans to Accept Migrants Located at Belarus-Poland Border
Germany has no plans to accept migrants attempting to cross the Belarusian-Polish border, the Interior Ministry’s spokesman, Steve Alter, said on Wednesday.

"I do not know where this information came from. At the end of last week, we have already denied these rumors that there are plans to host people from Belarus in Germany. This is not true. There are no such plans," Alter told reporters.
09:57 GMT 17.11.2021
Belarusian Presidential Aide Says No Migrant Will Be Deported Against Will
No migrant will be deported from Belarus against his will, Belarusian presidential aide in the Grodno region Yuri Karayev told Sputnik, adding that the issue will be resolved with those people who wish to return to their countries.

"The issue will be resolved with those who want to [return]. With those who do not want, no one will forcibly do anything," Karayev said when asked about deportations.

Karayev mentioned that there are over 1,000 migrants in a logistics center and some 800 more in a forest near the Belarusian-Polish border.

"We are persuading 250 of them [to move to the logistics center] and stay there, mostly women and children, here. They are ready for this, because it is cold," the official said.

In addition, Karayev said that he is not aware of any new attempts to cross the Belarusian-Polish borders.
08:56 GMT 17.11.2021
Logistics Centre in Bruzgi Checkpoint Hosts Over 1,000 Migrants, Belarusian Red Cross Says
A logistics center in the Bruzgi checkpoint at the Belarusian-Polish border hosts over 1,000 migrants, Secretary General of the Belarusian Red Cross Society Dmitry Shevtsov told Sputnik on Wednesday.

"According to estimates, there are 1,007 people in the territory of the logistics center. Another half [of the migrant group], which is more than 800, remain in a camp near the Belarusian-Polish border,” Shevtsov said.
08:23 GMT 17.11.2021
Barrier Construction on Polish-Belarusian Border to Start on 15 December
Construction of a solid barrier on the Belarusian-Polish border will start on 15 December, Krzystof Mroz, a member of the Polish Senate, said on Wednesday.

"Physical construction will begin on 15 December," Mroz told the Polish Television.
06:47 GMT 17.11.2021
Brazil Seeks Larger Fertilizer Supplies From Russia Amid Possible Sanctions Against Minsk
Brazil wants to increase fertilizer supplies from Russia amid possible sanctions against Belarus, which accounts for almost 20% in the Brazilian fertilizer market, Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply Tereza Cristina da Costa said on Wednesday.

The minister expressed concerns about a possible rise in prices or interruptions in fertilizers supplies from Belarus in case the United States and the European Union impose sanctions against Minsk due to the migration crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border. According to Tereza Cristina, such increase will accelerate already high food inflation in Brazil.

"We spoke with Belarus ... We are going to Russia to see if we can manage to achieve a larger supply than we have today, in case it becomes necessary to compensate [supplies]," the minister said in an interview with Estado de São Paulo.

The visit to Moscow is expected to take place in the coming days.
06:46 GMT 17.11.2021
Migrants Made Attempts to Cross Polish Border Overnight, Defenсe Ministry Says
Groups of illegal migrants made attempts to cross the Belarusian-Polish border overnight, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Wednesday.

"The night, unfortunately, was not calm. The tension, of course, was less than we could see in Kuznica, but still the methods of attack on the Polish border remain the same. The public opinion focused on Kuznica. At the same time, smaller groups of migrants tried to break through the Polish border in other areas, also at night," the minister told the Polish radio.
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