Belarusian services fire shots towards migrants
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Belarus has been accused of leading a “gangster-style approach” by enticing migrants to its border under false pretenses of easy entry to the EU. Meanwhile, Poland has sent more than 12,000 soldiers to its border, with Belarus, in an attempt to control the movement of migrants. So, how did we get to this point?
What’s the current situation?
For several months now migrant numbers have slowly been increasing at the border between Poland and Belarus, in eastern Europe.
As of Tuesday it was estimated about 2,000 people were left stranded in make-shift camps and freezing conditions.
Since the summer, 10 migrants have been reported dead along the Poland-Belarus border.
Poland has declared a state of emergency, at the border, which prevents journalists and aid agencies from reaching migrants.
12,000 Polish soldiers have been deployed, and warnings have been issued to people that passage into Poland is only allowed at official crossings.
Newly passed laws have also allowed Polish authorities to ignore asylum requests and summarily expel migrants back into Belarus.
How did we get here?
The EU has alleged Belarus of enticing thousands of people, mostly from the Middle East and Africa, to make their way to the country.
Migrants fly into Belarus where they are given false assurances of easy passage into the EU and then directed west to the border with Poland.
Upon arrival they are met with rows of barbed-wire fencing and Polish soldiers roaming the perimeter which has led to the current stand-off.
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Belarus’ President, Alexander Lukashenko, has been accused, by European leaders, of fuelling the crisis as revenge for western sanctions.
A European Commission spokesman said: “This is part of the inhuman and really gangster-style approach of the Lukashenko regime that he is lying to people, he is misusing people, misleading them, and bringing them to Belarus under the false promise of having easy entry into the EU.”
However, Russia, Belarus’s close ally, has suggested that the EU could provide financial assistance to Belarus to encourage it to stop allowing migrants from entering its borders.
Why are migrants coming to Belarus?
After sanctions were imposed against his regime, President Lukashenko declared, last May, that he could no longer control the movement of migrants into Europe.
Since then thousands of people have arrived in the country. Viewing it as a safer alternative to dangerous boat journeys across the Mediterranean Sea.
Most of them seek passage through Poland into Germany and other western European countries.
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