20 pct of detained illegal migrants connected to Russia: official

“20 percent of illegal immigrants detained in Poland have connections with Russia,” Stanisław Żaryn, the spokesperson of the Minister-Coordinator for Special Services, reported on Monday at a press conference, referring to the migration crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border. He also added that among the detainees was a person associated with the Islamic State.

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A joint press conference by Mariusz Kamiński, the Minister of the Interior and Administration, Mariusz Błaszczak, the Minister of National Defense, and Tomasz Praga, the chief commander of the Border Guard, took place on Monday at noon.

Mariusz Kamiński said that the situation on the Belarusian-Polish border was tense.

“There are numerous attempts to breach the integrity of the border... There have been 9,400 attempts to illegally cross the border since August,” he reported.

“People who try to push through our border are in no way endangered in Belarus. They are completely legally there and are in fact invited by the Lukashenka’s regime and used by it as “weapons and ammunition” for political reasons,” he added.

“We have detained approximately 1,200 illegal immigrants in guarded centers. Many of them have false papers or none at all,” Mr Kaminski reported.

He also announced that he would recommend the government extend the state of emergency in the border zone with Belarus for another 60 days.

“There are incidents at the border that can lead to very hot situations. Our officers should have freedom to act,” he stressed.

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“Polish soldiers are provoked by Belarusian officials - shots are fired into the air, weapons are aimed at them, firecrackers are thrown,” Mariusz Błaszczak said, commenting on the situation at the border, assuring that “Polish soldiers are trained well and do not succumb to these provocations.”

“We are able to increase numerically the support of the Polish Army when necessary,” he declared.

A state of emergency has been in force in the border zone with Belarus since September 2. It covers 183 towns, was issued at the request of the Council of Ministers and introduced for 30 days under the ordinance of President Andrzej Duda.

The government justified the action with the situation on the border with Belarus, where the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka is waging a hybrid war by “pushing” illegal migrants into Poland.

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