Poland fears renewed efforts by migrants trying to force through Belarus border

Polish officials have accused Belarus of trying to spark a major confrontation, while videos show hundreds to migrants trying breach the border

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Poland fears groups of several hundreds migrants will try to cross into the country from Belarus in the coming hours after thousands gathered at its border.

Polish officials have accused Belarus of trying to spark a major confrontation, while video clips showed hundreds of migrants walking towards the Polish border and some trying to breach the fence using spades and other implements.

"We expect that in the coming hours attacks on our border will be renewed by groups of several hundred people," Pawel Soloch, the head of Poland's National Security Bureau, told reporters.

Migrants gather near a barbed wire fence in an attempt to cross the border with Poland in the Grodno region, Belarus November 8, 2021. Leonid Scheglov/BelTA/Handout
Migrants gather near a barbed wire fence in an attempt to cross the border with Poland in the Grodno region, Belarus November 8, 2021. Leonid Scheglov/BelTA/Handout

Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller said that there were currently 3,000-4,000 migrants near the border, and more than 10,000 others across Belarus ready to try and cross into Poland.

Warsaw said it had deployed additional soldiers, border guards and police, while neighbouring Lithuania said it might introduce a state of emergency on its border with Belarus.

The European Union, to which Poland and Lithuania both belong, accuses Minsk of encouraging migrants from the Middle East and Africa to cross into the EU via Belarus, as a form of hybrid warfare in revenge for Western sanctions on President Alexander Lukashenko's government over human rights abuses.

Poland said it had withstood the first attempts on Monday by the migrants to force their way across the border.

A view through a barbed wire fence shows Polish police minivans as hundreds of migrants gather on the Belarusian-Polish border in an attempt to cross it in the Grodno region, Belarus November 8, 2021.
A view through a barbed wire fence shows Polish police minivans as hundreds of migrants gather on the Belarusian-Polish border in an attempt to cross it in the Grodno region, Belarus November 8, 2021.

A video distributed by Polish authorities showed one man cutting part of a barbed wire fence, another attacking the fence with a spade, while a Polish soldier sprayed an unidentified substance from a can.

In an earlier video, shared by the Belarusian blogging service NEXTA, migrants carrying rucksacks and wearing winter clothing were seen walking on the side of a highway.

Other videos showed large groups of migrants sitting by the road and being escorted by armed men dressed in khaki.

Lithuania said it also was moving additional troops to the border to prepare for a possible surge in migrant crossings. Latvia said the situation was "alarming".

Lukashenko's government has repeatedly denied manufacturing a migrant crisis, blaming the West for the crossings and treatment of migrants.