Poland sends aid to migrants left stranded at Belarus border

Poland’s government says it has sent tents, blankets, power generators and other items to help a group of refugees and migrants who have been stuck at the country’s border with Belarus for more than two weeks

APTOPIX Poland Migration Belarus
APTOPIX Poland Migration Belarus

Poland's government said Tuesday that it sent tents, blankets, power generators and other items to help a group of refugees and migrants who have been stuck at the country's border with Belarus for more than two weeks.

Polish officials insisted the group of some 30 migrants from Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere remain on Belarusian territory. They said an aid transport the government sent was waiting at the border for permission to enter Belarus.

Poland and the Baltic states that also border Belarus have accused the government in Minsk of encouraging migrants to cross into their countries as retaliation for the European Union imposing sanctions on Belarusian officials.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki planned to visit border guards in the area later Tuesday.

Opposition politicians and humanitarian organization have criticized Poland's right-wing government for not helping the stranded migrants who were sleeping in the open.

The U.N.'s refugee agency has appealed to Poland to let the group in and to provide medical and legal assistance.

Poland has barred the group from crossing its border, which forms part of the EU’s external border, alleging that Belarus' government is trying to destabilize Poland and the EU in response to the sanctions. The EU sanctioned Belarus over the government's crackdown on dissent following the disputed reelection of President Alexander Lukashenko in Aug. 2020.

“If we accept this group, the next moment we will have not 10 or 20...but 1,000, 2,000 and 10,000.” Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said.

“We must not forget that this is an element of hybrid activity, intentionally directed at Poland, somewhat in the spirit of revenge for our assistance to the civic society in Belarus,” Przydacz said.

Poland previously allowed in a group of dissidents who fled Belarus.

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