Poland’s Deputy Interior Minister: “We’re talking about an operation organized by the Russian and Belarusian secret services that is getting more and more intense.”
Russia is using its ally Belarus to flood Eastern Europe with illegal immigrants, Poland fears. Russian forces, particularly the newly deployed Wagner mercenaries, may organize a large-scale migrant influx to ‘destabilize’ Poland, the Polish prime minister and senior officials say.
“We’re talking about an operation organized by the Russian and Belarusian secret services that is getting more and more intense,” Deputy Interior Minister Maciej Wasik told the French news agency AFP on Monday. The Belarusian state is acting as a “criminal group that is masterminding illegal migration. Of course, they are making huge profits from it.” he added.
Belarus, which shares a border with EU members Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania, is ruled by dictator Alexander Lukashenko and is firmly in Moscow’s sphere of influence. Russia has deployed nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil, and the Wagner mercenaries recently started training its special forces.
The statement comes nearly a week after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki warned that Wagner fighters posing as Belarusian border guards might help large numbers of migrants to crossover and ‘destabilize’ his country.
“Now the situation becomes even more dangerous. We have information that over 100 mercenaries of the Wagner Group have moved towards the Suwałki Gap near Grodno in Belarus,” the prime minister said, according to the state TV Telewizja Polska. “They will probably be disguised as Belarusian border guards and will help illegal immigrants to enter Polish territory, destabilize Poland, but they will also probably try to infiltrate Poland pretending to be illegal immigrants, and this creates additional risks,” the Polish leader cautioned.
German state TV Deutsche Welle reported:
Poland on Monday accused Belarus’ and Russia’s secret services of organizing an influx of migrants into the European Union through the Polish border.
“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 said.
“We need many more forces at the border,” he said, according to Polish news agency PAP.
He said that the situation “is not as chaotic today as it was two years ago,” when thousands of migrants were left stranded on the Poland-Belarus border. (…)
On Monday, the border guard called on the defense ministry to send 1,000 additional troops to the border.
Polish border guard chief Tomasz Praga said that Belarusian secret services had become “a criminal group that is masterminding illegal immigration” and had been “making huge profits from it.”
“This would not be possible without the involvement of Belarusian authorities,” he said.
According to Praga, 19,000 migrants have attempted entry into Poland from Belarus so far in 2023, compared to 16,000 during the previous year.
The border guard said that 160 migrants tried to enter Poland from Belarus on Sunday and 147 attempted the crossing on Sunday.
This is not the first time Russia has been poised to weaponize illegal immigrants against Poland and Eastern Europe.
In the autumn of 2021, Legal Insurrection reported a “massive migrant wave as thousands of illegal immigrants converge on its eastern borders.” These migrants, mostly from Syria and other Arab countries, attacked European border guards. “Bands of migrant men armed with wire cutters and shovels have clashed with Polish and Lithuanian border police,” we reported.
Poland is coordinating with neighboring Lithuania to avert a scenario similar to the one in 2021. “Polish and Lithuanian leaders held an urgent meeting on Thursday, warning they are bracing for possible provocations from Moscow and Minsk,” the French TV channel Euronews reported on August 3. “Both nations on NATO’s eastern flank have beefed up border security following the arrival of thousands of mercenaries from the Russian Wagner group following their aborted mutiny in June.”
While Poland and other frontier eastern European states are determined to secure their borders from illegal immigration, the EU is forcing them to open their door to migrants, mostly from Muslim-majority countries of North Africa and the Middle East. British weekly The Spectators reported last month that “Poland has declined to participate in the European Union’s latest plan to relocate migrants and asylum seekers within the bloc, with countries who refuse being expected to pay €20,000 per refugee. Hungary has also voted against the pact, while Malta, Lithuania, Slovakia, Bulgaria have quietly abstained. ”DONATE
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