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The Polish authorities are planning to increase the number of soldiers policing the country’s border with Belarus to around 10,000 due to a continuing surge in the number of people trying to enter illegally.
There will be 2,500 more soldiers to support Poland’s border guards, Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak tweeted on Monday.
The Polish government says Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko is deliberately bringing refugees from war-torn regions to the EU’s external border.
In May, Lukashenko said Minsk would no longer stop migrants from travelling onwards into the EU, in response to tougher Western sanctions imposed on Belarus for the violent repression of peaceful protest after contested elections.
The Polish government has already built a barbed wire fence along the border with Belarus and is planning to erect a permanent structure.
There were two failed attempts by migrants to force their way through the border using violent means over the weekend, according to the Polish border guards.
Both times, groups of 60 to 70 migrants threw branches and stones at the border guards, the authority tweeted on Monday and also posted a video.
Meanwhile, a different group of migrants who spent weeks camping outdoors in a forest near the Polish village of Usnarz Gorny has abandoned the site, the border guard said in a separate tweet. It was not immediately possible to confirm the statement as the state of emergency prevents journalists and aid workers from entering the area.
The group’s plight moved the public, however, and prompted calls for refugees reaching the Polish border to be treated better. Many come from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
In Germany, a politician demanded aid for the migrants stranded at the border and for the EU and UN provide more support to resolve the situation.
“The EU member states have a duty to guarantee access to an asylum procedure in the EU at all times, as guaranteed under international and European law,” Jamila Schaefer, the Green Party’s deputy chairperson, told dpa.
“Now, with the help of the UNHCR, people must be provided with humanitarian assistance on both sides of the border.” She also called for Poland to be supported with help carrying out security checks, registration and the onward distribution of people.
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