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Belarus Summons Polish Charge D'Affaires Over Diplomat's Expulsion

A child has a meal after migrants settled at a logistics center at the Belarus-Poland border near Hrodno, Belarus, on December 22.

Poland says that Belarus has summoned the Polish charge d'affaires in Minsk to inform Warsaw about the expulsion of a Polish diplomat.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms the fact that the charge d'affaires was called in in a case related to the expulsion of a Polish consul," spokesman Lukasz Jasina said in a statement on January 5.

Jasina said the expelled diplomat was the Polish consul in the border city of Brest. The spokesman added that “steps are being taken to verify the information provided and to clarify the situation."

There were no immediate comments from the Belarusian authorities.

Tensions have been running high between the two neighbors over a migrant crisis that the European Union and Poland say was engineered by Belarus in retaliation for Western sanctions against the authoritarian government of Aleksandr Lukashenka.

They accused Minsk of waging a “hybrid attack” against the EU, luring thousands of migrants to Belarus from the Middle East and other regions, with the promise of help to get to Western Europe, to use them as pawns to destabilize the 27-nation bloc.

Belarus has denied the charge.

Poland took a tough stance in response to the migrant crisis, building a barbed-wire fence and massing thousands of soldiers along its 400-kilometer border with Belarus.

In some cases, Warsaw has been accused of pushing back migrants to Belarus, in a policy criticized by human rights groups.

Based on reporting by Reuters