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.
UN Delegation Visits Refugee Center on Belarusian-Polish Border
© AP Photo / Leonid ShcheglovIn this image taken with a drone Polish servicemen use a water cannon during clashes between migrants and Polish border guards at the Belarus-Poland border near Grodno, Belarus, on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021
© AP Photo / Leonid Shcheglov
BRUZGI CHECKPOINT (Sputnik) - A delegation from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) visited the logistics center on the Belarusian-Polish border where refugees are currently being sheltered, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the scene on Saturday.
"We have been meeting with our national partners and considering various medium-term measures to resolve the situation with migrants. Some [migrants] are planning to apply [for asylum], some want to return home. Our organization calls on the countries to urgently solve the problem together. We mean Belarus and neighboring European countries," Mahym Orazmuhamedova, chief of IOM Mission in Belarus, said.
She also urged the countries involved to respect international law and the rights of refugees.
UNHCR representative in Belarus Mulusew Mamo, in turn, expressed concern that the refugees in the temporary shelter in Bruzgi lack a lot of necessary items and promised that the UN and the Red Cross will take steps to solve the existing issues. He also warned that there is a high risk of a COVID-19 outbreak among the migrants given their number and density.
Several thousand migrants have gathered at the border between Belarus and Poland over the past few weeks, hoping to get into the European Union. The Polish authorities have strengthened border security and deployed the military to block the illegal crossing attempts, blaming Minsk for the migration crisis.
Belarus has firmly denied the accusations and claimed that Poland is forcibly expelling migrants to its territory. Minsk is currently providing the stranded migrants with medical assistance, food, clothing and shelter.