Belarus: Lukashenko says UK ‘can choke’ on new sanctions
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President Alexander Lukashenko has sent thousands of people to the Polish border on board busses with officers forcing them to cross at gunpoint. The migrants were intercepted by Polish forces who stopped them entering the country, while at the same time being pushed forward by Belarus forces.
“They said they could not resist the guards, who always carried large guns,” Anna Alboth from charity Minority Rights Group, told the Times.
A group of migrants has been stuck in Usnarz Gorny, a village in eastern Poland, for almost a fortnight.
Another group has been taken to holding centres in Poland.
According to the Times, the migrants were forced across the small Swislocz river on planks.
The Polish defence minister called the drastic increase in border crosses “a dirty game of Lukashenko and the Kremlin”.
He shared pictures of a 100km long barbed wire fence lining the border, adding that an additional 50km will also be added shortly.
“When we found them they had not had food for 24 hours, they were drinking water from a stream and trying to eat from shrubs,” Maciej Konieczny, an MP from the Left party, told the Times.
“They could not even go to relieve themselves.”
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This follows a report last week from Lithuania which claimed 12 Belarusian officers crossed the border illegally to force a group of migrants into the EU.
Over 4,100 migrants, with the majority from Iraq, have been forced into Lithuania illegally from Belarus just this year.
The rise in the border crossings began in June when the EU imposed sanctions on Alexander Lukashenko.
The sanctions were imposed after the President increased the crackdown on protesters and arrested a dissident journalist who was on board a Ryanair flight.
The plane was forced to land in Minsk where officers arrested the Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich.
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