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Thirteen Detained In Poland For Attempt To Destroy Fence Along Belarusian Border

Polish border guards keeping watch at their country's frontier with Belarus earlier this month.
Polish border guards keeping watch at their country's frontier with Belarus earlier this month.

Poland has detained 13 activists for trying to destroy part of a fence along the border with Belarus that has been erected to help stem the flow of illegal migrants crossing into the country.

Poland's Border Guard Service said late on August 29 that the detained suspects include 12 Polish nationals and one citizen of the Netherlands.

European Union member Poland -- along with Lithuania -- has seen a surge of migrants arriving across its border with Belarus in recent weeks, which officials say is being facilitated by Belarus's authoritarian leader, Alyaksandr Lukashanka, in retaliation for sanctions over his crackdown on the country's pro-democracy movement following a disputed presidential election in August 2020..

Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski called the activists' attempt to destroy the barrier "absolutely unacceptable," adding that all of the perpetrators will face full criminal prosecution.

"We will react to such actions with full determination," Kaminski tweeted on August 29.

Minsk has been accused of sending migrants from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere across the border in a “hybrid war” to create instability in the 27-nation bloc.

In reaction, Poland recently erected a barbed wire fence along the border and has said it plans to build a 2.5-meter high wall along the frontier with Belarus.

The crisis hit a new level last week when Poland accused the Belarusian authorities of not allowing humanitarian assistance to be delivered to a group of about 30 migrants stranded on the border between the two countries.

Polish and Belarusian border guards have been keeping the group of migrants, mostly from Afghanistan and Iraq, trapped in a small area on the border, as both countries avoid responsibility for them.

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