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Belarus illegal migrants Mariusz Kamiński State of Emergency News Poland

Is Poland about to declare a state of emergency at its border with Belarus?

The minister of the interior wants to give security forces more powers to keep out migrants being pushed across by Belarus authorities in retaliation at EU sanctions

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: tvp.info

On Tuesday, the council of ministers turned to Polish President Andrzej Duda to introduce a state of emergency on parts of the Polish-Belarusian border for 30 days. The state of emergency would affect 115 towns in the Podlaskie region and 68 towns in the Lubelskie region, mostly the 3-kilometer-long area along the border.

If the president decides that the state of emergency should be introduced, the necessary bill will be enacted immediately.

Minister of the Interior Mariusz Kamiński told TVP Info public news television channel that the Polish government was afraid of tragic incidents and provocations and needed certainty that Poland controlled the border with Belarus completely. He added that the issue also concerned assuring the safety of citizens who lived near the border. Thousands of migrants, mostly from the Middle East, have tried to illegally cross from neighboring Belarus in recent months.

“The goal of the fake crisis caused by Lukahsenko is to destabilize the situation in Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. We must show, that Lukashenko’s actions will not lead to the results that he expects,” said Kamiński. He also emphasized that Lukashenko is behaving in an irresponsible, aggressive, and emotional way by trying to destabilize the situation in Poland and the EU. This is a response to the sanctions imposed on Belarus.

The minister said that in a few days, the Zapad-2021 military exercises in Belarus, with the participation of several thousand Russian troops, will begin on the border with Poland. He warned that any incident may lead to a tragedy.

The minister of the interior noted that the president’s decision on the state of emergency has not yet been made but that he expects it soon.

Minister Kamiński explained that these new regulations will minimally affect the inhabitants of the border towns. The government does not want to interfere with their work lives and wants them to freely function. The restrictions will mostly concern people from outside of those regions.

“No trips, no happenings, and demonstrations will be able to be organized along this border zone,” Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński said, referring to previous visits by pro-refugee NGOs to the area.

Title image of Minister Mariusz Kamiński during press conference. (source: TT/KPRM)