The Polish government has acknowledged that the migration crisis at the border with Belarus will not be resolved “quickly” and may even last for months, “if not years”, after the most tense day since thousands of people began to crowd into the area.
The Polish Border Guard has reported at least two illegal entry attempts on Tuesday night into Wednesday, with dozens of people involved in both cases. Warsaw accuses Minsk of promoting this pressure and even alleges that Belarusian officials are trying to create holes in the fence. On Tuesday, several members of Poland’s security forces were injured — one of them seriously — during clashes in which police and military responded with tear gas to the throwing of sticks and stones from the other side.
The Polish Minister of Defense, Mariusz Blaszcak, has assured that “the night was not calm” and, although there have been fewer attempts to cross the border than in previous days, the ‘modus operandi’ is repeated, according to a radio interview reported by the PAP agency. Blaszcak, whose government has the support of the EU as a whole in its criticism of Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, foresees that the situation will continue for months or even years to come. Polish authorities have recorded more than 33,000 illegal crossing attempts so far this year, with a peak in October of some 17,300.
Thousands of migrants, meanwhile, remain practically out in the open on Belarusian territory, in makeshift camps exposed to inclement weather and gradually falling temperatures. The Belarusian authorities have assured that about a thousand of them have slept tonight under cover in a shed located next to the border.
Lukashenko defends that neither he nor his government are using the migrants as a tool for political pressure, despite the fact that he himself publicly acknowledged that he would not prevent their passage to the EU in retaliation for the sanctions adopted after his controversial reelection as president in 2020.