WARSAW – Poland is considering introducing a state of emergency in two regions along its border with Belarus, two government sources told Reuters, after the Polish Border Guard said hundreds of illegal border crossings had taken place this month.
The state of emergency would be introduced in parts of the Podlaskie and Lubelskie regions, one of the sources said. A state of emergency would give authorities broader powers to monitor and control people’s movements.
Poland began building a barbed wire fence last week along the border in an effort to curb the flow of migrants from countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan crossing from Belarus.
The European Union, of which Poland is a member state, has accused Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko of waging “hybrid warfare” with migrants to exert pressure on the bloc.
Poland also sees Belarus’s behaviour as retaliation for Warsaw’s decision to give refuge to Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, a Belarusian athlete who refused to return home from the Tokyo Olympics. Minsk has not responded to requests for comment.
Polish authorities have faced criticism from human rights groups for not accepting migrants, and for denying those at the border adequate medical care. Warsaw says they are the responsibility of the Belarusian authorities.