Horst Seehofer calls on EU states for help

Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer calls for EU support in dealing with the flow of refugees. Germany and Poland could not solve the problem alone. Meanwhile, the situation is coming to a head.

The dispute between Belarus and its neighboring countries over border crossings by migrants is noticeably intensifying. Poland accused the Belarusian leadership on Monday of preparing a “major provocation”. According to Foreign Secretary Piotr Wawrzyk, the government in Warsaw is preparing for the leadership in Minsk to want to let masses of people into Poland.

“Belarus wants a major incident, according to media reports, with gunshots and casualties as possible,” Wawrzyk said on state radio.

In view of the tensions, Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is demanding support from the EU states. “We have to help the Polish government secure the external border,” said the CSU politician of the “Bild” newspaper on Tuesday. All EU states must now stand together, as the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko is trying to use the fate of the refugees “to destabilize the West”.

German police officers offered

The parliamentary state secretary in the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Stephan Mayer (CSU), offered the government in Warsaw the support of German police officers to secure the border. “We are offering Poland every kind of help to repel the attack on the border with Belarus,” Mayer told the “Bild” newspaper. “Germany could also send police forces to Poland to support them very quickly if Poland wanted to.”

The CSU European politician Manfred Weber has called for the European Union to take a decisive stance. “The European message has to be: It’s enough!”, Said the group leader of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament of the newspaper “Bild” (Tuesday). He spoke out in favor of “tightened sanctions” against the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko and those around him.

Lithuania pledges aid to Poland

According to the authorities in Belarus, hundreds of migrants made their way to the border with Poland on Monday. The photos showed how people in larger groups carried their belongings. A video distributed by the Polish government shows migrants trying to tear down the barbed wire fence at the border with spades and a tree trunk. A Polish uniformed man used tear gas against the men.

Migrants on the border between Poland and Belarus: The Belarusian border guards spoke of 2,000 migrants who wanted to cross the border. (Source: Leonid Shcheglov / BelTA / AP / dpa)

Lithuania also pledged its support to Poland. “We are ready to give our neighbors all the support they need to cope with this challenge of illegal migration,” tweeted President Gitanas Nausėda on Monday after a phone call with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda. Lithuania, which also borders Belarus, is in “full solidarity” with Poland.

Lithuania, meanwhile, is stepping up its measures at the border. The army of the Baltic EU and NATO country has also put the military units on duty at the border on higher alert.

NATO: Belarus uses refugees as a hybrid tactic

On Monday evening, the EU Commission demanded that new sanctions be adopted against Belarus. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The instrumentalization of migrants for political purposes by Belarus is unacceptable.” She called on the member states to approve extended sanctions against the Belarusian authorities.

NATO condemned the actions of the Belarusian leadership. With this “wave” of refugees, the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko put the NATO member states Lithuania, Latvia and Poland under targeted pressure. It is “unacceptable how the Lukashenko regime uses refugees as a hybrid tactic,” said a NATO representative.

Border fence between Poland and Belarus: More and more migrants are moving towards the European Union via Belarus. (Source: imago images / Viktor Tolochko)Border fence between Poland and Belarus: More and more migrants are moving towards the European Union via Belarus. (Source: Viktor Tolochko / imago images)

He warned Belarus against using refugees against the military alliance. The military alliance is ready to support the allies and ensure security.

Organizations bring relief supplies

Activists from Germany sent a bus with relief supplies to the border area. The bus of the Seebrücke Deutschland and LeaveNoOneBehind initiatives started on Monday from Berlin. The organizers announced that he would bring relief supplies such as warm winter shoes, socks, rescue blankets and headlamps to Poland.

Migrants on the Belarusian border with Poland: Germany is considered one of their main destinations. (Source: Reuters / BelTA)Migrants on the Belarusian border with Poland: Germany is considered one of their main destinations. (Source: BelTA / Reuters)

The activists originally planned to bring migrants and refugees from Poland to Germany on their way back. However, this is only possible with a confirmation of admission from the Federal Ministry of the Interior, said the pier. A request to this effect was directed to the ministry on Thursday, but has not yet been answered. “We expect an acceptance letter”, the situation in the border area is “a single catastrophe”.

Pro asylum requires admission

The human rights organization Pro Asyl also demanded that the refugees arriving from Belarus be taken in and taken care of in Poland. “Maintaining access to asylum, taking in refugees and ensuring their care, we have agreed on this in international treaties, that is our answer to dictators,” said pro-asylum European spokesman Karl Kopp on Monday.

Only if international law and EU law are complied with can “the spiral of escalation be stopped and human lives protected,” warned Kopp.

Poland closes the border crossing

Because of the tense situation, the Polish government decided to close a border crossing. From Tuesday 7:00 a.m., border traffic for goods and people at the Kuznica crossing will be suspended, the border guard announced on Monday via Twitter. Travelers were asked to use the border crossings in Terespol and Bobrowniki.

The government in Warsaw and the EU are accusing Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko of having people flown in from crisis regions in order to smuggle them into the EU. In response to sanctions against his country, he had declared that he would no longer stop people on their way to a better life in the “cozy West”. There have already been several migrant deaths in the border region.

The EU states Poland and Lithuania have reported thousands of border crossings in the past few months. Germany is considered a main destination for migrants.