- Numbers of illegal migrants to Poland rise sharply.
- State of emergency declared on Poland-Belarus border.
- Belarus aiding and abetting illegal migration to Poland and other EU countries.
The President of Poland has declared a state of emergency in two regions bordering Belarus due to a sharp spike in the number of illegal migrant border crossings.
This is the first time in the country’s post-Communist history the state of emergency was enacted on its border – Poland has never introduced such measures, and avoided imposing one even during the most difficult periods of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite some calls on the government to do so.
The state of emergency would remain in effect for at least 30 days.
“The president decided to… introduce a state of emergency in the areas designated by the Council of Ministers,” Duda’s spokesman, Blazej Spychalski, told a press conference on Thursday.
“The situation on the border with Belarus is difficult and dangerous,” Spychalski said. “Today, we as Poland, being responsible for our own borders, but also for the borders of the European Union, must take measures to ensure the security of Poland and the European Union.”
On Tuesday, the government formally asked Duda to impose the state of emergency in some areas of Poland’s eastern Podlaskie and Lubelskie regions that border Belarus. The order would apply to a total of 183 municipalities directly adjacent to the border and would form a three-kilometer-deep zone along the border with Belarus.
The measure is yet to be approved by the lower house of the Polish parliament – the Sejm. It is scheduled to convene on the matter on Friday or Monday, according to Polish media reports.
The move comes amid a surge in illegal migration that Poland and some Baltic states have been facing over recent months. Thousands of illegal migrants believed to be traveling from the Middle East have crossed or attempted to cross into Latvia, Lithuania and Poland from neighboring Belarus over that period.
The Polish border guards said on Wednesday that August alone saw a total of 3,500 attempts by migrants to enter Poland from Belarus. The guards thwarted 2,500 of such attempts.
The developments already prompted Warsaw to send troops to build a 2.5 meters tall razor-wire barrier designed to stretch for most of the 150-kilometer (93-mile) border with Belarus.
The EU previously accused Belarus of engaging in a “direct attack” on the bloc and trying to “instrumentalize human beings for political purposes” by pushing migrants toward the borders of member states. Vilnius also accused Minsk of flying in migrants from abroad and shuttling them to the border as a form of warfare.
Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko declared that his administration would no longer try to stop migrants from crossing into the EU after its members imposed sanctions against Belarus over the fraudulent 2020 presidential election, rigged by Lukashenko.