World Poland Says 470 People Attempted to Illegally Cross Into Nation From Belarus in 1 Day
Trapped in the woods: Belarus accused of using migrants as weapons
Belarus accused of using migrants as weapons. The activists, from the migrants rights group, Grupa Granica, were looking for a small group of men who a short while ago had crossed the border from Belarus into a corner of northeastern Poland.
Polish officials said there were 470 attempts to illegally cross into the country from Belarus in one day this week, all of which were prevented.
Poland's Border Guards Agency made the announcement Wednesday, and the border crossings had all occurred on Tuesday. The agency said there have been 6,700 hindered attempts to cross the border so far this month, and 18,300 since the beginning of the year.
EU top official says Polish ruling is a threat to the bloc
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's top official locked horns Tuesday with Poland's prime minister, arguing that a recent ruling from the country's constitutional court challenging the supremacy of EU laws is a threat to the bloc's foundations and won't be left unanswered. Addressing EU lawmakers in Strasbourg, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said she is deeply concerned by the ruling, which she said is “a direct challenge to the unity of the European legal order" and undermines the protection of judicial independence. © Provided by Associated Press Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki sits Tuesday, Oct.
In response to the influx of migrants attempting to cross via a more dangerous route from Belarus to Poland through woods and swamps, Poland proposed the construction of a new fence to hinder the illegal crossings.
The new measures are necessary as "the number of attempts by illegal migrants to cross the border has not been going down despite the fact that there are more border guards, soldiers and policemen on the border," Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski told state news agency PAP.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
German authorities said Wednesday that the number of migrants arriving in the country via Poland and Belarus has gone up during the months that severalnations have accused the Belarusian government of encouraging people to cross into the from its territory.
In forests on Poland-Belarus border, migrants fight for survival
In forests on Poland-Belarus border, migrants fight for survivalNEAR SOKOLKA, Poland (Reuters) - Mohammed, a 26-year-old Yemeni migrant, flew to Belarus from Malaysia in August hoping to make it to Poland and on to western Europe.
German federal police said more than 4,300 people illegally crossed the border from Poland this year, with most of the migrants coming from Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Iran, German news agency dpa reported. EU member Poland has accused neighboring Belarus of encouraging largescale migration to destabilize the 27-nation bloc.
Germany's federal police said that from January to July this year, 26 people traveling by the "Belarus route" arrived in Germany without authorization. The number grew to 474 in August, 1,914 in September and 1,934 during the first 11 days of October, the federal police said.
Most of the newcomers were being put up at asylum reception centers in the eastern state of Brandenburg. The centers can house 3,500 people, and authorities have added tents to make space for up to 5,000.
"The situation is not dramatic, but it is tough," said Olaf Jansen, head of the foreigners' office in the eastern German town of Eisenhuettenstadt. There's concern the coronavirus might spread among the new arrivals, he said.
Record number of people attempt to cross the border between Poland and Belarus, officials say
A record number of people attempted to cross the border between Poland and Belarus Saturday, amid accusations that Belarus is facilitating migration to the European Union's eastern border.A record number of people attempted to cross the border between Poland and Belarus Saturday, amid accusations that Belarus is facilitating migration to the European Union's eastern border.
German Chancelloris among the EU leaders who have joined Poland in accusing the government of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of facilitating migration into the EU as a form of "hybrid war" in retaliation for EU sanctions.
Thousands of migrants have been lured to Belarus on tourist visas and encouraged to cross into Poland, Lithuania and to a lesser extent Latvia — all three EU nations that border Belarus.
Several recently died of exhaustion as they tried to get from Belarus to Poland across an area of forests and swamps.
The German government announced Wednesday that it was working on various measures to curb migration on the country's eastern border.
"There are currently consultations with our partners, both inside Germany and abroad, about measures to prevent the illegal migration to Germany," Interior Ministry spokesperson Steve Alter told dpa. He did not give any further details.
In Poland, the government approved a bill late Tuesday that would regulate the construction of a high barrier with motion sensors on the border with Belarus to deter people from crossing over. It's estimated cost is 1.65 billion zlotys ($407 million). A vote by lawmakers could take place as soon as Wednesday.
Poland stokes fears of leaving EU in 'Polexit'
By challenging the core primacy of EU law, Poland fuels concerns it is heading towards the exit.France says such an exit is now a "de facto risk". Late on Friday the French and German foreign ministers rebuked Poland, saying EU membership relied upon "complete and unconditional adherence to common values and rules" and this was "not simply a moral commitment. It is also a legal commitment".
In 2015-2016, more than a million people fleeing war in the Middle East made dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, seeking safety in Western Europe, and especially in Germany. But after their arrival, the EU installed drone surveillance and cut deals with Turkey and Libya to keep migrants away.
The far less protected path into the EU, through the forests and swamps of Eastern Europe, became a popular route after the EU imposed sanctions on Lukashenko and other Belarusian officials over their country's flawed August 2020 presidential election and a harsh crackdown on antigovernment protesters.
"The actions taken by the Alexander Lukashenko regime demanded a firm response from the Polish government," Kaminski told PAP.
Also Wednesday, Poland's Internal Security Agency said it had detained a Polish man suspected of secretly collaborating with Belarusian intelligence services, working against Poland's interests.
Two 'illiberal' democracies are taking on E.U. law. Will it end with their exit? .
A battle is raging at the heart of the European Union over accusations that its two most right-wing governments are subverting democratic principles and offering inspiration to populist parties across Europe. © Provided by NBC News The E.U. accuses Poland of undermining the entire 27-nation union by asserting that its domestic laws take precedence over shared European law. Poland is the first member state to do so, and E.U. leaders say the move threatens the very foundations of the bloc.