Polish security forces have used tear gas and water cannons on immigrants trying to enter Poland from Belarus. Clashes broke out last Tuesday between Polish border guards and immigrants stranded on the Poland-Belarus border. According to the Polish Ministry of Defense, immigrants hurled stones at border guards as they tried to cross the Kuznetsov border.
Tensions have been running high on the Belarus-Poland border for weeks. Thousands of migrants, most of them from the Middle East, have gathered on the Belarusian border to try to enter the European Union. The migrants have recently gathered in a makeshift camp on the Kuzniki border in the bitter cold.
On Monday, they tried to cross the border into Poland. On Tuesday morning, Poland’s defense ministry said troops had tried to repel an attack by immigrants on a border crossing in Kuznetsk.
Russia, Belarus’s closest ally, has condemned the firing of tear gas shells at immigrants. Due to the declaration of a state of emergency in the border area, the media and non-government organizations are having to speed up humanitarian aid activities or news gathering.
Poland and its allies have blamed Belarus for the situation. They say they are fueling Russian incitement to enter Poland, many of them Middle Easterners. In the midst of a war of words between the two sides, grassroots non-governmental organizations have called on other European countries and the international community to take humanitarian action to save lives.
Belarus has cut off oil supplies to Poland as the situation worsens, according to Reuters. EU-Belarus relations have been severely damaged since Lukashenko won the Belarussian presidency last year. According to the BBC, Lukashenko spoke on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday to normalize the situation. Iraq says it will return refugees The process is starting today, Thursday, with the return of 200 refugees. But many refugees are reluctant to return to Iraq.