Russia is involved in migration crisis on border with Belarus: official

Stanisław Żaryn, spokesperson of the Minister-Special Services Coordinator, said that Russia wants to avoid being linked to the situation, which has seen hundreds of migrants trying to cross into Poland from Belarus in operation apparently orchestrated by the Belarusian government.

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“In our opinion, the migration crisis has been going on with Russia’s significant support,” Mr Żaryn told the Polish Press Agency (PAP) on Thursday.

“By strengthening its border with Belarus, Poland is giving a signal that attempts to destabilise this country will fail,” he added.

According to Mr Żaryn, a significant number of the migrants trying to cross the Polish border are being sent to Belarus from Russia, while Moscow is “one of the air transport hubs.” He explained that some migrants had already admitted that they had been sent to Belarus from Russia.

The official added that Poland had at its disposal hard evidence confirming Russia’s participation in what was going on at the border.

He also said that Moscow’s actions have been visible in many areas such as “the energy pressure exerted by Russia on our region has been mounting.”

Mr Żaryn also mentioned “attempts to blackmail the EU with gas prices, which are being manipulated by Russia in order to ensure the fastest possible operation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.”

“These are the elements of a puzzle which show that the Belarusian-Russian side has been getting more and more aggressive towards Poland,” he pointed out, adding that “both the migration pressure and the entire context make us evaluate the situation as serious.”

Poland has been struggling to stem the flow of Middle Eastern and African migrants crossing into Poland from Belarus. The government says the migrants have been invited to Belarus by Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the country’s president, allegedly under the promise they will be able to live in the EU.

The Polish government wants to build a wall along the Polish-Belarusian border to stop illegal migration.