Migrants still probing Belarus-EU border

·2-min read

Several large groups of migrants attempting to breach the border between Belarus and Poland have been successfully pushed back, Polish border officials say.

The attempts occurred late on Friday near the Polish town of Dubicze Cerkiewne.

"The foreigners were aggressive. They threw rocks and fireworks and used tear gas," read a statement from the border force.

Polish officials recorded 195 attempts to cross the border illegally on Friday.

They also reported multiple arrests for people smuggling, including four Poles, two Ukrainians, two Germans, an Azerbaijani and a Georgian.

Those arrested were attempting to help a group of 34 migrants cross the border.

Tensions have been high in the region for several weeks, with migrants massing at what is the external border to the European Union and making multiple attempts to enter the EU.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is accused by the EU of allowing migrants to enter Belarus and continue to the EU border in an attempt to create a new migrant crisis.

Lukashenko has denied the claim.

In recent days, migrants who at one point were camped in a forest on the border, have been moved into warehouse accommodation on the Belarusian side of the border, though their situation remains dire, especially as temperatures plummet.

The migrants are receiving food and medical treatment at the shelters, though complaints about hygiene standards at the site remain.

Dmitry Shevzov, secretary general of the Belarusian Red Cross, said everything possible was being done for the approximately 2000 people still trapped near the border.

Many have refused offers to return home, Shevzov said, adding they were currently under guard and being blocked from leaving the building.

Investigations have also begun into an incident on Tuesday, when migrants at the border were hit by blasts from water cannon and tear gas from the Polish side.

About 100 people were reportedly involved in the incident, which prompted Lukashenko to refer to Polish guards as "fascists" in an interview with the BBC.

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