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World U.S. and G7 demand Belarus end "callous" migrant crisis with Poland

17:11  18 november  2021
17:11  18 november  2021 Source:   cbsnews.com

Migrants camp overnight at Polish border after tense day

  Migrants camp overnight at Polish border after tense day WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish police posted video early Tuesday showing a group of migrants who had camped overnight just on the far side of Poland's eastern border in Belarus. Polish riot police and coils of razor wire faced the migrants and police said the situation overnight was calm. That followed a day of heavy tensions on the border, where a large group of migrants — hundreds if not thousands of people mostly from the Middle East and encouraged by Belarus — sought to push their way into Poland. © Provided by Associated Press Migrants from the Middle East and elsewhere gather at the Belarus-Poland border near Grodno, Belarus, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.

Bielsk Podlaski, Poland — The foreign ministers of the world's Big-7 economies formally condemned Belarus on Thursday over the migrant crisis along its border with Poland. Overnight, Polish authorities said they had detained about 100 people trying to cross into Poland from Belarus.

Irregular migrants at Belarus-Polish border © Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Irregular migrants at Belarus-Polish border

Belarus' Russian-backed regime has said it is trying to de-escalate the tense situation along its border with the European Union by flying some of the thousands of migrants who came to the country, hoping to cross onto EU soil, back home on repatriation flights.

EXPLAINER: What's behind the crisis at Belarus-Poland border

  EXPLAINER: What's behind the crisis at Belarus-Poland border Thousands of migrants have flocked to Belarus' border with Poland, hoping to get to Western Europe, and many of them are now stranded at the frontier, setting up makeshift camps as Polish security forces watch them from behind a razor-wire fence and prevent them from entering the country. A look at what led to the standoff: WHAT IS BEHIND THE CRISIS? Belarus was rocked by months of massive protests following the August 2020 election that gave authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko a sixth term in office. The opposition and the West rejected the result as a sham.

Autocratic President Alexander Lukashenko's government has also set up at least one warehouse, away from the border, as a temporary shelter for dozens of migrants, where they have been moved and offered food and water. But it comes after weeks of outrage from European nations, which accuse him of "instrumentalizing" irregular immigration in his standoff with the EU.

A woman and her child are seen in a shelter near the Bruzgi border checkpoint with neighboring Poland, as irregular migrants continue to wait at the border during cold weather on November 18, 2021 in Grodno, Belarus, hoping to cross into the EU. / Credit: Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty © Provided by CBS News A woman and her child are seen in a shelter near the Bruzgi border checkpoint with neighboring Poland, as irregular migrants continue to wait at the border during cold weather on November 18, 2021 in Grodno, Belarus, hoping to cross into the EU. / Credit: Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty

"These callous acts are putting people's lives at risk," the G7, which is the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, said in a joint statement on Thursday. "We are united in our solidarity with Poland, as well as Lithuania and Latvia, who have been targeted by this provocative use of irregular migration as a hybrid tactic. We call on the regime to cease immediately its aggressive and exploitative campaign in order to prevent further deaths and suffering."

Turkey halts flights for some Mideast citizens to EU's door

  Turkey halts flights for some Mideast citizens to EU's door WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Turkey’s Civil Aviation Authority said Friday that the country is halting airline ticket sales to Iraqi, Syrian and Yemeni citizens wanting to travel to Belarus, which in recent months became a route for migrants and refugees to enter the European Union. EU leaders have put increasing pressure on airlines to stop bringing people from the Middle East to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, from where asylum-seekers seeking better lives can then travel by car to the EU's doorstep.

But as CBS News senior foreign correspondent Charlie D'Agata reports, many families are still suffering — stuck in frigid conditions in the no-man's land along Belarus' border with Poland.

The European Union and the U.S. have accused Lukashenko of luring thousands of migrants and refugees, most of them from the Middle East, to his country with easy travel — and the suggestion that they could then cross into the EU via the Polish border and claim asylum.

Hundreds have been stopped, but many people have made it out of the makeshift border camp in Belarus — dubbed "the Jungle" by those unlucky enough to have spent days, even weeks there — and across the barbed wire fence into Poland.

Migrant crisis intensifies at Poland-Belarus ... 02:07 © Provided by CBS News Migrant crisis intensifies at Poland-Belarus ... 02:07

On the other side, however, there's only more frozen forest — and thousands of Polish border authorities.

Tension mounts as soldiers and migrants mass at Belarus-Poland border

  Tension mounts as soldiers and migrants mass at Belarus-Poland border Belarus's Russian-backed leader insists he's "not seeking a fight," but Polish and European leaders accuse him of mounting a "hybrid attack," using innocent migrants as a weapon.There were unconfirmed reports of gunfire on Tuesday as tension soared in the months-long crisis between Russia-aligned Belarus, and EU and NATO member Poland. Military forces have entrenched on both sides of the border, and migrants desperate to reach EU soil are caught in the middle, in dire conditions.

At least eight people are believed to have died trying to make the crossing, but exact numbers, given the length and remoteness of the border and Polish authorities banning journalists and aid workers from getting close to it, are unclear.

Many of those lucky enough to be rescued by humanitarian organizations operating on the Polish side are found in desperate conditions, some having trekked through the freezing woods for days with little or no food.

Irregular migrants are seen at a camp in Belarus near a fence along the Polish-Belarusian border, during cold weather on November 18, 2021 in Grodno, Belarus. / Credit: Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty © Provided by CBS News Irregular migrants are seen at a camp in Belarus near a fence along the Polish-Belarusian border, during cold weather on November 18, 2021 in Grodno, Belarus. / Credit: Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty

CBS News met one woman at a hospital in northeast Poland who was found in the forest, said to be pregnant and suffering from hypothermia. She was typical of the patients Dr. Arsalan Azzaddin sees coming in every night.

They show up suffering from "dehydration, hypothermia and fractures," he told D'Agata, but many also have bodily injuries suggesting they'd been beaten.

Rouba, from the Syrian capital of Damascus, suffered a miscarriage between her escape Belarus and hiding out in Poland. She said she had to use water from a ditch to mix formula for her 18-month-old baby.

In a normal environment, a hospital might serve as a sanctuary for families like hers. But this is not a normal environment. Rouba told CBS News that she was separated from her husband and daughters, who were taken to a detention facility. She hasn't spoken with them since.

"All I want to do is hug my kids again and travel with them to Germany," she told D'Agata.

Now she's suffering from a COVID-19 infection, too. Like thousands of others who've been made unwilling pawns in the faceoff between Eastern and Western Europe, Rouba faces an uncertain future, and it's entirely out of her hands.

Central European nations back Poland in migration dispute .
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The leaders of three Central European countries on Tuesday expressed their solidarity with Poland in an ongoing migration crisis on its eastern border with Belarus, and urged the European Union to increase its support for the protection of the bloc's external borders. At a news briefing in Hungary's capital of Budapest following talks between the prime ministers of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the situation on his country's eastern border went beyond migration.

usr: 4
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