Polish guards in position near its border with Belarus used water cannons on advancing migrants amid freezing temperatures, while the crisis shows no signs of improvement.
The Trends Journal has reported extensively on the border issue. (See “BELARUS VS. EU: AND THE WINNER IS?” “POLAND’S LINK WITH EU WORSENS. POLEXIT NEXT?” and “REFUGEE CRISIS WORSENING: POLAND TO DEPLOY ADDITIONAL 10,000 TROOPS AT BORDER.”)
We have pointed out that Warsaw has initially been accused by the EU of taking a heavy-handed approach to the crisis that mainly involves migrants from the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Africa.
Alexander Lukashenko, the leader in Minsk, has been accused by Brussels of sending these migrants to the border in retaliation to new sanctions by the EU in what has been called a hybrid attack.
“Four rounds of sanctions against the regime of president Alexander Lukashenko haven’t really changed anything, but we know now that this is a situation that is getting ever more difficult, as we’ve seen with this with this violence on the border,” Niccolò Figà-Talamanca, the secretary-general of No Peace Without Justice, a non-profit, said, according to Euronews.
The Polish forces said some of the migrants were armed with gas grenades that were supplied by Minsk. There were also some who threw rocks at guards, they said.
Mariusz Blaszczak, Poland’s defense minister, said Minsk has also changed its tactics along the border in recent days. Instead of forming a large mass of migrants at certain locations, smaller groups of migrants are attempting to gain entry at more remote locations.
“We have to prepare for the fact that this problem will continue for months,” he said, according to The Guardian. “I have no doubt that that will be the case.”
He also said there is “no question that these attacks are being directed by Belarusian services.”
Poland has clashed with Brussels on how to best deal with the crisis. When Warsaw asked the EU to help fund the fence construction—since the migration surge impacts the entire continent—Ursula von der Leyen, the EU chief, denied the request and said there “will be no funding of barbed wire and walls.”
As the refugee crisis continued to escalate from Africa, Middle-East and war-torn nations into Europe, the EU position has rapidly changed.
Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, was in Warsaw earlier this month to meet with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to discuss the issue and “offer solidarity,” The New York Times reported.
“Poland, which is facing a serious crisis, should enjoy the solidarity and unity of the whole European Union. It is a hybrid attack, a brutal attack, a violent attack, and a shameful attack. In the wake of such measures, the only response is to act in a decisive manner, with unity, in line with our core values,” Michel said, according to the paper.
TRENDPOST: We note this article to also illustrate political and media hypocrisy. Imagine if the United States used water cannons to repel migrants pouring into its Southern border? There would be global outrage. But when it is done by a U.S. ally and against migrants from a Russian backed nation, there is no water cannon soaking refugees in freezing weather condemnation.
It should also be noted that Lukashenko admitted to the BBC that it is “absolutely possible” that government forces helped migrants cross into Poland, but he insisted that his country never invited them.
“I told them [the EU] I’m not going to detain migrants on the border, hold them at the border, and if they keep coming from now on I still won’t stop them, because they’re not coming to my county, they’re going to yours. But I didn’t invite them here. And to be honest, I don’t want them to go through Belarus.”