Poland Blames Lukashenko for 'Greatest Attempt to Destabilise Europe in 30 Years'
11:05 GMT 21.11.2021 (Updated: 11:08 GMT 21.11.2021)
Hundreds of mostly Middle Eastern and African migrants have been amassing along the Belarusian border with Poland for weeks in an attempt to make it into the EU. Warsaw accuses Minsk of encouraging migrants to cross into the bloc via Belarus, something Belarusian authorities reject.
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of launching "a hybrid war against the EU" amid the ongoing migrant crisis
on the Belarusian-Polish border.
"This is the greatest attempt to destabilise Europe in 30 years", Morawiecki tweeted on Sunday, pledging that Poland would "not yield to blackmail" and would "do everything to defend the EU's borders".
"Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia need support. We must stand together to defend Europe", the prime minister added.
16 November 2021, 16:44 GMT
The remarks came after Lukashenko said in an interview with the BBC on Friday that it was "absolutely possible" his forces or "maybe someone" had helped migrants cross into the EU.
"I told them [the EU] I'm not going to detain migrants on the border, hold them at the border, and if they keep coming from now on I still won't stop them, because they're not coming to my country, they're going to yours. But I didn't invite them here. And to be honest, I don't want them to go through Belarus", Lukashenko stated.
He spoke as Poland's border guards reported new attempted crossings, including by a "very aggressive group of around 100" migrants.
This followed Russian President Vladimir Putin insisting earlier this week that western nations are using the ongoing immigration crisis on the Belarus-Poland border as a pretext for escalating tensions and exercising pressure against Belarus, Russia's immediate neighbour and ally.
17 November 2021, 13:12 GMT
"At the same time, they are violating their own obligations in the humanitarian sphere", Putin added, condemning Poland for using anti-riot tools against the migrants trying to cross the border.
"I just feel sorry for the children. [Polish forces] pour water and tear gas there, throw grenades there. Helicopters fly along the border and [the Polish side] turns the sirens on at night", the Russian president said.
Poland earlier refused to accept hundreds of migrants
, mostly Iraqi Kurds, who remain stuck on the country's border with Belarus. They have repeatedly tried to storm the Polish border, with troops pushing them back using water cannons and tear gas.
Warsaw and other EU countries have repeatedly accused Minsk of deliberately transporting migrants to Belarus to create an immigration crisis, slapping Belarus with new sanctions for this reason. Belarusian authorities vehemently reject Brussels' claims.