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Poland Calls On Belarus To Allow Aid Delivery To Stranded Migrants

Migrants believed to be from Afghanistan sit on the ground in the small village of Usnarz Gorny near Bialystok, in northeastern Poland, located close to the border with Belarus, on August 20. The migrants have spent more than three weeks trapped in limbo between the two countries.

Poland has 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 Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on August 26 that Poland has dispatched humanitarian aid by road that Belarus has so far refused to accept.

"We are appealing again. We are trying to ensure that we receive their consent," Morawiecki said, insisting that the migrants were on the Belarusian side of the border.

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.

Belarus Accused Of 'Provocation' As Record Numbers Of Illegal Migrants Reach Lithuania
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In recent months, thousands of migrants, many from Iraq and Afghanistan, have illegally crossed from Belarus into Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland.

Belarusian authorities have allegedly funneled migrants across the EU border, which Minsk has denied, in what EU officials called a "hybrid attack" on the bloc in retaliation for sanctions over authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s crackdown on the country's pro-democracy movement following a disputed presidential election in August 2020.

On August 26, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Gniezno, Wojciech Polak, appealed to Poland’s politicians to work together to find a solution, saying: "No human being, regardless of religious affiliation and origin, should be an instrument in a political fight."

Polish officials insist that the migrants will not be allowed into Poland, saying it would encourage further illegal migration and would play into the Belarusian government’s hands.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa