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UK deploys 'small team' of soldiers in Poland

November 12, 2021 at 4:54 pm

Migrants wait at the Polish-Belarusian border on 10 November 2021 [Stringer/Anadolu Agency]

Britain on Friday said it deployed “a small team” of armed forces in Poland, as the migrant crisis with Belarus continues.

The Ministry of Defense said in a statement that the servicemen were deployed “to address the ongoing situation at the Belarus border.”

“The UK and Poland have a long history of friendship and are NATO allies,” it added.

“A small team of UK armed forces personnel have been deployed, following an agreement with the Polish government to explore how we can provide engineering support to address the ongoing situation at the Belarus border,” the statement read.

Massing of a large number of people seeking exit towards Europe on the Poland-Belarus border increased tensions between the two countries.

In a speech on 6 July, Belarusian President, Aleksandr Lukashenko, said that after the Western attitudes towards Russia and Belarus, they can no longer accept people fleeing war.

He said they would not hold anyone back, adding: “We are not their final destination after all. They are headed to enlightened, warm, cozy Europe.”

READ: Poland accuses Turkey of fuelling migrant crisis in Eastern, Central Europe

In October, Belarus suspended an agreement with the EU, obliging the country to take back migrants that crossed its territory and into the EU.

The EU accuses the Belarusian administration of “using irregular migration as a tool” and “trying to destabilise the EU” by sending migrants to the borders of EU countries Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

Polish authorities announced that they would not allow the migrants to enter the country and would send those who managed to enter back to Belarus.

Belarus is accusing Poland of not providing humane treatment for people seeking to migrate to Europe, while the Polish administration accused Belarus of using these people as a political tool.

The EU accused the Belarusian government of “using immigrants and encouraging them to go to EU borders.”

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, called on EU member states to approve an expanded sanctions regime against Belarusian officials amid the border crisis.

The situation at the Poland/Belarus border - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

The situation at the Poland/Belarus border – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]