Polish police find the body of a young Syrian near the Belarusian border

Warsaw, Poland — Polish police said on Saturday that the body of a young Syrian was found in a forest near the border with Belarus, the latest victim of political conflict on the eastern border of the European Union.

The Minsk administration has been encouraging illegal immigrants across borders to the EU countries of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia for months. The situation is becoming more and more dangerous as winter approaches, as all three countries are stepping up their frontiers to thwart newly opened migration routes.

Polish police said the body of a Syrian man, about 20 years old, was found a day ago near the village of Wólka Terekhowska. They said the exact cause of death could not be determined and an autopsy would be done.

It now kills at least nine reported victims of migration encouraged by Belarus’ longtime president Alexander Lukashenko.

Many of the migrants come from Syria, Iraq, or elsewhere in the Middle East and are trying to escape conflict and despair for a better life outlook in Europe.

The crisis has created another tension between the West and Belarus, and thus with its closest ally, Russia.

Russia sent a nuclear-responsive strategic bomber and paratrooper to patrol Belarus at a support show this week, but Russia’s President Vladimir Putin denied allegations that he was involved in creating a stream of immigrants to Europe. bottom.

“We want everyone to know that it has nothing to do with it. President Putin said in an excerpt released Saturday in an interview with state television that will be fully aired on Sunday.

He blames the West as the root cause of the crisis, as Russian airlines do not carry immigrants to Belarus, and military operations in Iraq and elsewhere have led to ongoing conflicts in the region. I said I did.

“Is Belarus pioneering these problems or what? No, these are the causes created by the Western countries themselves, including European countries,” Putin said.

Many migrants are in temporary camps on the Belarusian side of the border in frigid conditions. Polish authorities are reporting new daily attempts by migrants to break through the border.

On November 12, 2021, when migrants gather on the Belarusian-Polish border near Grodno in Belarus, Belarusian soldiers guard the area. (Photo of Leonid Shcheglov / BelTA pool via AP)

The situation shows no signs of ending soon. Belarusian state news agency Bertha reported on Saturday that Lukashenko ordered the military to set up tents on the border where food and other humanitarian aid could be collected and distributed to migrants.

Polish border guards said on Saturday morning that Belarusian soldiers began to break temporary border barriers near the village of Cheremcha in Poland, using laser beams to blind Polish security agencies.

Nearby, a group of about 100 immigrants were waiting to cross the border. “The Belarusians equipped foreigners with tear gas, which was used by Polish troops,” the border guard said, saying the Poles had stopped trying to cross.

Many of the cases reported at the border are very difficult to identify. Independent journalists have limited coverage in Belarus, and a Polish border emergency has prevented media from entering the region.

The state of emergency ended on November 30, and the Polish government said on Saturday that it was working on a plan to allow journalists at the time to report again from the border area with the permission of the border guards.

After a major migration to Europe in 2015, Europe has strengthened its borders and discouraged the arrival of more migrants and refugees. Still, each year, tens of thousands of people attempt to embark on dangerous and sometimes deadly journeys by sea or land.

Since the summer, thousands of people have been fascinated by what appears to be a new and easy way to slip into Europe via Belarus.

The EU has accused Lukashenko of creating an artificial route to retaliate against the sanctions imposed on his administration after the 2020 elections, and is widely regarded as flawed, with severe crackdowns on subsequent internal objections. It was conducted.

Regulations were tightened after a jet airliner flying from Greece to Lithuania was directed from Belarus to Minsk in May and authorities arrested dissident journalist Ramanplata Sevic. The EU called it hijacking, shutting Belarusian carriers out of the air and reducing imports of top domestic commodities, such as petroleum products and potash, a fertilizer ingredient.

Furious Lukashenko counterattacked, claiming that EU sanctions had robbed the government of the money needed to contain the flow of immigrants, saying they would no longer comply with an agreement to stop illegal immigrants. Airplanes carrying immigrants from Iraq, Syria and other countries have begun to arrive in Belarus.

Vanessa Gera

Associated Press