Accessibility links

Breaking News

Poland Registers More Than 700 Attempts To Illegally Cross Border From Belarus

A migrant watches warily after crossing the Belarusian-Polish border in Siemianowka, Poland, on October 25.
A migrant watches warily after crossing the Belarusian-Polish border in Siemianowka, Poland, on October 25.

Polish border guards recorded more than 700 attempts to illegally cross Poland’s border with Belarus in the previous 24 hours, the border guard service said on October 31, as Poland continues to refuse to allow nongovernmental medical workers to care for migrants stranded at the border.

Border guards detained four foreigners -- all Iraqi citizens -- out of the 727 attempts, Polish radio reported, citing the border service. The 727 attempts were close to the highest number of attempts to illegally enter Poland from Belarus -- 739 -- recorded on October 10.

The EU accuses Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka of flying in migrants and funneling them to the bloc's borders to retaliate against Brussels for sanctions imposed over a crackdown on the opposition, civil society, and independent media since the August 2020 presidential election, which was widely considered to have been rigged.

Earlier this week, Poland announced plans to increase the number of soldiers and guards at its border with Belarus. Germany also said it had deployed hundreds of extra police to the Polish frontier to help deal with the recent influx of migrants, most coming via Belarus.

Warsaw already has declared a state of emergency and put up a razor-wire fence, and last week Polish lawmakers approved the building of a $407 million wall on its eastern border with Belarus.

A request from Wojciech Polak, the archbishop of Gniezno and primate of Poland, to allow nongovernmental medical workers to care for the migrants was rejected by Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski, according to the aid organization Doctors On The Border on Twitter.

The organization has been trying for weeks to gain access to the people stranded on the Belarusian-Polish border.

"We know that dozens of people there need urgent medical help. We know of several deaths and we know that there will be even more victims if medical aid continues to be blocked," the volunteer organization declared a week ago in an appeal published by the anti-government newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.

The border guards also refuse to cooperate with them, citing the state of emergency, the organization said on October 31.

With reporting by dpa
  • 16x9 Image

    RFE/RL's Belarus Service

    RFE/RL's Belarus Service is one of the leading providers of news and analysis to Belarusian audiences in their own language. It is a bulwark against pervasive Russian propaganda and defies the government’s virtual monopoly on domestic broadcast media.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.