Poland rescues 10 suspected migrants from swamp near Belarus border

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By Euronews  with Reuters
A Polish border guard patrols the area of a newly built metal wall near Kuznice.
A Polish border guard patrols the area of a newly built metal wall near Kuznice.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Michal Dyjuk, File

Poland's Border Guard says it has rescued 10 suspected migrants from a swamp near the country's border fence with Belarus.

The authority said it saved eight Sri Lankan citizens, one Pakistani citizen, and an Indian citizen "during an extremely difficult operation".

The group was found late on Tuesday evening near the Siemianówka lake, just a few kilometres from the Belarusian border.

"The sought group of migrants was located using a drone," the Border Guard said on Twitter.

"All of them migrants and [rescue] officers were very exhausted and had no way of safe return. A military helicopter was called into action."

Polish authorities have warned that migrant activity at the border with Belarus has increased amid the war in Ukraine.

Last year, the European Union accused Minsk of facilitating the illegal migration of thousands of people from the Middle East and Africa.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko -- a key ally of Moscow -- denied allegations that he was encouraging migration to try and destabilise the EU.

A total of 63 people tried to cross the Belarus border on Tuesday, according to the Polish Border Guard.

Poland recently completed construction on a new 186-kilometre border wall in an attempt to deter migrants entering from Belarusian territory.

Human rights groups have accused Warsaw of a double standard by welcoming millions of Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion, while also blocking mostly Asian refugees from entering via Belarus.

At least 20 people are known to have died between Belarus and Poland in freezing conditions in the last year.

Warsaw has also begun building a razor-wire fence on its border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad to stem migration.