Belarus: Migrants mass at Kuznica-Bruzgi border with Poland
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The EU has been watching Eastern Europe closely, as dramatic reports have emerged of armed Belarusian officials appearing to escort hundreds of migrants towards Poland. The senior official in the Lithuanian government who raised the alarm has said the EU needs to respond to the terror threat quickly and to start taking resilience issues “more seriously.”
Poland, which is a member of the EU, has reacted aggressively sending a staggering 12,000 troops to the border.
Videos on social media have emerged of Polish troops using tear gas to stop migrants from crossing the border.
Poland, Lithuania and Latvia have all seen the numbers of those trying to cross from Belarus into their countries illegally soar in the past few months.
Many of these migrants are believed to have come from the Middle East and Asia.
Poland has refused to accept support from the EU border agency, Frontex, much to the frustration of the European Commission.
But now it’s not just Poland’s border crisis that is causing concern within the EU, as a senior Lithuanian Government official has issued a fresh terror warning to the bloc.
The Government insider told Playbook: “Since July 2021 at least two dozen irregular crossers of the EU eastern border were identified as members of radical terrorist groups.”
The official urged the EU to “start taking resilience issues more seriously.”
They warned that the EU needed to respond to this threat quickly.
As yet it’s not clear whether these migrants were members of terror groups such as Al Qaeda or ISIS, however.
French and German officials told Playbook they had no further intel if terrorists were among those sent to the EU border from Belarus.
Lithuania, like Poland, has been on the frontline of Belarus’ dubious moves to send migrants from their country to the EU.
The nation has responded to this recent threat with force, sending extra troops to its border with Belarus, despite no recent reports of Belarusian officials using this border to divert migrants across.
Lithuania has also said it is boosting security at its detention centres that house those crossing into the country illegally.
Interior Minister, Agnė Bilotaitė, responded to the threat on November 8 by saying she will propose a state of emergency for the border area.
This requires government approval but Lithuania’s strong responses to migrant crises in the past means it’s likely she will get it.
The Belarusian government has denied accusations by Poland, the EU and Nato that they are using the migrant crisis to provoke them.
Deputy foreign minister, Piotr Wawrzyk, said: ”Belarus wants to cause a major incident, preferably with shots fired and casualties.”
The Belarus defence ministry has rejected such accusations as unfounded.
It has accused Poland of going against agreements by gathering thousands of troops at its border.
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