Dozens of Middle East migrants ‘forcefully’ enter Poland

Polish authorities said they had caught 50 asylum seekers entering the country illegally from Belarus as the European Union accused Minsk of a refugee crisis.

Regional police spokesman Tomasz Kripa said 50 people crossed the border “by force” near the village of Starzin just after 8 p.m. local time on Saturday. He said police had detained 22 asylum seekers, all of whom were Iraqi citizens.

Polish border guards later said that all 50 intruders were immediately captured and “Brought to the border.”

Kripa said that around the same time on Saturday, several dozen people tried to cross the border near Klukowicz-Kolonia, while about 100 more waited. According to a police spokesperson, the migrants pelted stones at the officers, damaging a police vehicle. “An officer’s helmet was hit with a stone. Fortunately, the policeman did not require hospitalisation.” he said.

In total, there were 223 attempted illegal crossings from Belarus to Poland on Saturday alone, according to the Polish Border Guard.

More than 3,000 asylum-seekers, mostly from the Middle East, are camping along the Belarusian border and on cold November nights, as well as the occasional use of tear gas and pepper spray by Polish border guards. The report said 10 migrants have been found dead so far since the standoff began last month.

The EU accuses Belarus of engineering the refugee crisis it calls a “Hybrid Attack” against the block. The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, told Le Journal du Dimanche on Sunday that member states will decide on November 15 whether to broaden sanctions on Minsk to target “All involved in the smuggling of migrants into that country, for example, airlines and travel agencies.”

Borrell said the EU would consider approving about 30 Belarusian government officials “Involved in crisis.”

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has denied facilitating an influx of migrants to the Polish border. Belarusian officials accused the EU of waging its own hybrid war on Minsk by backing opposition figures and the media.

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