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Polish PM suggests asking NATO to hold talks on migrant crisis

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By Euronews  with AP
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A family eat at a tent camp as migrants gather at the Belarus-Poland border near Grodno, Belarus, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.
A family eat at a tent camp as migrants gather at the Belarus-Poland border near Grodno, Belarus, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.   -   Copyright  Leonid Shcheglov/BelTA pool photo via AP

Poland, Lithuania and Latvia are considering asking NATO to hold emergency talks amid a migration crisis at their borders with Belarus, Poland's prime minister was quoted as saying.

Speaking to Polish state media, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said together with his counterparts from the two Baltic states, they were discussing whether to ask the alliance for talks under Article 4 of the treaty.

The article allows any ally to request consultations if it feels its territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened.

"It seems that it is needed more and more. Because it is not enough just to publicly express our concern - now concrete steps and commitment of the entire alliance are needed," Morawiecki told state news agency PAP.

Tensions at the border appeared to escalate in the past week, with Polish authorities posting videos of large groups of migrants at the border with Belarus, attempting to cross into the EU.

The European Union says that Belarus has been waging a "hybrid war" by facilitating migrants' access for months to the bloc's external border in retaliation for sanctions on the regime.

The countries at the border have responded by reinforcing their borders, seeking to block the newly opened migration route.

A deputy interior minister from Poland said on Sunday that more migrants are arriving near the Polish border crossing of Kuźnica from the Belarusian side.

But due to a state of emergency in Poland, journalists and human rights workers cannot travel to the border to verify the events.

Morawiecki vowed in the interview with PAP that Poland's border with Belarus “will be an effective and final barrier” to actions by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. “There is no doubt that things have gone too far,” Morawiecki said.

Many migrants are now stuck in makeshift camps in freezing weather as Poland has reinforced its border with 15,000 soldiers in addition to border guards and police.

Most are fleeing conflict, poverty or hopelessness in Syria and Iraq and hope to reach Germany or elsewhere in Western Europe.

On Saturday, Polish authorities reported that the body of a young Syrian was found near the border, the eleventh reported death amid the crisis.

Watch the full interview with Jamie Shea, former deputy assistant Secretary-General of NATO, in the video player above.