Polish troops use water cannons to throw stones at migrants at the Belarus border


Polish border forces said, on Tuesday, that they were attacked with stones by migrants at the border with Belarus, and responded by using water cannons against them.

The Border Patrol Agency posted a video on Twitter showing water cannons being directed across the border to a group of migrants in a makeshift camp in freezing temperatures.

Polish police said an officer was seriously injured. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital with his skull likely fractured after being hit by an object.

The situation represents an escalation in a tense migration crisis and political borders with the lives of thousands of migrants at risk.

The Polish Defense Ministry said its soldiers and other border forces were attacked with stones and other things.

The ministry also said that Belarusian forces tried to destroy a fence along the common border between the two countries, while the Ministry of Interior published a video clip apparently showing migrants trying to demolish the fence.

Strict media control

There was no way to independently verify what was happening because the state of emergency in Poland keeps reporters and human rights workers away from the border area. In Belarus, journalists face severe restrictions on their ability to write as well, with only a few at the border.

At one point on Tuesday, the independent television channel, TVN24, had to rely on CNN to show an image of the border that was not filtered through government authorities.

Migrants trying to cross into Poland at the Bruzgi-Kuznica border crossing on the Belarusian-Polish border threw stones at Polish security forces on Tuesday. (Leonid Shivlov/Belta/AFP/Getty Images)

The Polish parliament is expected to adopt, on Tuesday, a legislative proposal regulating the ability of citizens to move in the border area with Belarus after the end of the state of emergency at the end of this month.

A state of emergency was imposed at the beginning of September as a large number of migrants from the Middle East sought to cross into Poland from Belarus.

The border is also part of the eastern border of the European Union, and the European Union accuses the authoritarian regime of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of fomenting the migration crisis in order to put pressure on the bloc.

The European Union is putting pressure on airlines to stop transporting Syrians, Iraqis and others to Belarus.

Urging Iraqis to return home

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government is urging its citizens trapped at the border to return home.

An embassy spokesman told Interfax on Tuesday that about 200 Iraqis who arrived in Belarus with the intention of crossing into the European Union contacted the Iraqi embassy in Russia and expressed their desire to return to their homeland.

The spokesman added that an evacuation flight will start on Thursday and that all those wishing to return to Iraq are already in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, waiting for the flight. The diplomat told Interfax that there were no problems with the transfer of migrants from the border to Minsk, and that the Belarusian authorities provided all necessary assistance.





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