The Polish border guard said Belarusian soldiers had brought about 100 migrants and refugees to their border on Saturday night.
Poland has accused Belarus of continuing to move migrants to its border this week despite clearing camps near the border, as the country’s prime minister embarked on a tour of the Baltic states to seek help in the crisis.
The European Union has accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of deliberately trying to flood the bloc with migrants and refugees as revenge for sanctions against the country, as well as the EU’s refusal to recognize Lukashenko’s legitimacy after a controversial presidential election last year.
Minsk, which denies promoting the crisis, cleared a migrant camp near the border on Thursday and began repatriating some people to Iraq in a change of apparent stance that has erupted in a major conflict.
However, Poland says Minsk continues to carry hundreds of migrants and refugees to the borders, where about 10 are believed to have died as winter enters.
“On Saturday … a group of about 100 aggressive foreigners, brought to the border by Belarusian soldiers, tried to force their way into Poland. (Polish) services prevented them from crossing,” the Polish Border Guard said on Twitter on Sunday.
The border guard said the incident took place before midnight on Saturday near the Polish town of Czeremcha. Belarusian security forces took the group in a truck to the border and handed them wooden planks to cross the barbed wire, a Polish border spokesman said, guarding them with stones and blinding them with laser beams.
According to the spokesperson, there were 208 attempts by refugees and migrants to enter Poland from Belarus on Saturday, a few more than on Friday, but well below the 501 attempts registered on Wednesday.
As Poland does not allow journalists to enter the field, the data cannot be independently verified.
Neighboring Lithuania said it banned the entry of 44 migrants on Saturday, the lowest number in a week.
A dozen Iraqi migrants, speaking to Lithuania’s DELFI news portal on the Belarusian border on Saturday, said they had been forcibly taken away by military officials from Belarusian trucks and ignored their desire to return to Iraq.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki visited Estonia on Sunday morning to discuss the crisis with his partner Kaja Kallas. He will travel to Lithuania and Latvia on the same day.
“Today, on the eastern border of Poland, we are dealing with a new kind of war, a war that is a weapon of migrants, in which disinformation is a weapon, a hybrid war,” Morawiecki said, adding that more economic sanctions against Minsk are being discussed. .
A survey by SW Research, published in the Rzeczpospolita newspaper on Sunday, showed that 55.1% of Poles are concerned that the border crisis could turn into a regular armed conflict.
However, hundreds of people took part in protests on Saturday in Warsaw and near the Belarusian border to demand help for refugees and migrants.