ClwstwrBelarus Border Crisis: Migrants "weaponised" in clash with EU

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    The Polish Government says a migrant crisis on its border with Belarus will probably lead to armed military action.

    It’s already sent extra troops to the border after desperate crowds tried to get through border fences.

    Poland, the EU and NATO all say the crisis is being deliberately orchestrated by Belarus’s authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko, as retaliation against sanctions for human rights violations.

    Many believe the migrants are being used as political pawns.

    What happened?
    • Up to 4000 people are caught up in the migrant crisis on Poland’s eastern border with Belarus.
    • Many are young men, but they include women and children too, largely from the Middle East and southern Asia.
    • There are fears that Belarus is flying thousands of people into Belarus and then pushing the migrants to the border to deliberately provoke a violent flashpoint.
    • The EU imposed sanctions on Belarus in August 2020, after a series of human rights abuses. It’s thought that Belarus’s actions now are in retaliation against those sanctions.
    What are the key facts?

    This is a humanitarian crisis, with the desperation of migrants being “weaponised” and leaving them trapped at the border between Belarussian soldiers on one side and Polish armed forces stopping them from entering the EU on the other.

    The situation is already creating tensions between Poland and the EU, with arguments over the independence of Poland’s legal system and how best to respond to the migrant crisis.

    The crisis is also spreading, with surges in migrant numbers at the borders of Lithuania and Latvia too.

    Why is this important?
    Shirish Kulkarni, Clwstwr