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Poland closes border with Belarus amid migrant crisis


Poland has closed a border crossing along its eastern border with Belarus as Minsk warned Warsaw against „any provocations” amid a continuing migration crisis that has alarmed the European Union, according to RFE/RL.

The closure of the Bruzhi-Kuznica border crossing early on Tuesday came after migrants on the Belarusian side attempted to break through razor-wire fencing in an attempt to enter EU-member Poland.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a tweet that „the stability and security of the entire EU is at stake,” and blamed the migrant crisis along the border as a „hybrid attack” orchestrated by the government of Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

In response, the Belarusian Defense Ministry called the allegations „unfounded,” while the Foreign Ministry issued a statement warning Warsaw „against any provocations directed against the Republic of Belarus to justify illegal use of force against disadvantaged, unarmed people, among whom there are many children and women.”

Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller told reporters on Monday that around 3,000-4,000 migrants were near the Belarusian border with Poland and thousands more were ready to follow them.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke on Monday with the prime ministers of Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia and afterwards called on EU member states to „finally approve the extended sanctions regime on the Belarusian authorities responsible for this hybrid attack.”

The EU will explore how to apply sanctions, including through „blacklisting third-country airlines that are active in human trafficking,” she said.

Poland has already imposed a state of emergency at the border and increased the number of soldiers and guards. Lawmakers have also approved the building of a $407 million wall on its eastern border.