Wednesday, September 29, 2021
“Go back to Minsk!”
Poland warns migrants by SMS before entering country
Belarus wants to put pressure on the EU and is therefore smuggling migrants across the Polish border. The authorities there warn people in advance via SMS: there is no way to get to Poland. However, aid organizations suspect that they are also resorting to illegal means.
Poland’s border guards have warned migrants at the border with Belarus via SMS against attempting to enter the EU illegally. “The Polish border is sealed. The Belarusian authorities lied to you. Go back to Minsk! Don’t take bullets from Belarusian soldiers,” said the short message in English, as Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminsky announced on Twitter.
The SMS would be sent to all those whose cell phones were in the border area within the limits of the Polish cellular network. It includes a link to the website of the Polish Interior Ministry, where the situation is explained in English, Arabic and Russian. The government in Warsaw has accused Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko of systematically bringing refugees from troubled areas to the EU’s outer border.
Lukashenko announced in late May that Minsk would no longer prevent migrants from continuing to travel to the European Union in response to tighter Western sanctions against the former Soviet republic. According to Polish border guards, 473 attempts were made to cross the border illegally on Tuesday. A spokesman for the authorities said it was the largest number so far within 24 hours. Nearly 6,000 attempts at illegal entry have been recorded since the beginning of September.
Aid organizations suspect that Poland’s border guards are sending most of the migrants back to Belarus – so-called pushback. This cannot be investigated and documented because Poland has declared a state of emergency at the border. Journalists and assistants are not allowed inside. A Turkish refugee told the daily newspaper “Gazeta Vyborza” that after the Belarus deportation from Poland, the migrants would be detained, beaten and brought back to the border by Belarusian security forces.
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