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Poland Says Belarus, Russia 'Organizing' New Migrant Influx

Poland-Belarus border. Straż Graniczna

Poland's government on Monday accused Belarus and Russia of orchestrating another migration influx into the European Union via the Polish border in order to destabilize the region.

"We're talking about an operation organized by the Russian and Belarusian secret services that is getting more and more intense," Polish Deputy Interior Minister Maciej Wasik told reporters. 

Tomasz Praga, the head of the Polish border guard, added that the Belarusian services had become "a criminal group that is masterminding illegal migration."

"Of course, they are making huge profits from it," he told reporters.

During a previous border crisis, starting in the summer of 2021, tens of thousands of migrants and refugees — mostly from the Middle East — crossed or attempted to cross into Poland from neighboring Belarus.

At the time the West accused the Belarusian regime of orchestrating the influx with its ally Russia in a "hybrid" attack, a type of warfare using non-military tactics — a charge Minsk denied.

Poland reacted then by setting up a no-access zone at the border, which lasted for nine months and banned non-residents including migrants, aid workers and media from the area. 

It also sent thousands of troops and police officers to reinforce border guard patrols at the height of the crisis, built a steel wall along the border and approved a law allowing migrants to be forced back into Belarus.

Wasik said the situation "is not as chaotic today as it was two years ago."

According to Praga, 19,000 migrants have tried to enter Poland from Belarus so far this year, compared to 16,000 during all of 2022. 

Last month alone, more than 4,000 migrants tried to cross the border.

In response, the border guard on Monday called on the defense ministry to send 1,000 additional troops to the border.

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