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Violence breaks out at Poland-Belarus border

A man runs away from a water cannon at the border crossing near Grodno, Belarus, on Tuesday. Associated Press/Photo by Leonid Shcheglov/BelTA

Violence breaks out at Poland-Belarus border

Roughly 2,000 migrants, mostly from Middle Eastern countries, are stuck between a razor-wire fence and Belarusian security forces. Polish authorities claim Belarus is preventing migrants from going back into the country and giving them weapons, a claim which Belarus’ foreign agency refutes. A group of 100 migrants attacked guards at the border on Tuesday morning with stones, broken concrete blocks, tree branches, and smoke grenades. The Polish Border Guard fought back with water cannons and tear gas. Authorities said seven police officers, one soldier, and one border guard were injured. At least nine migrants have died in the border crisis so far.

What is causing the crisis? Poland says Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko directed migrants to illegally cross the border, using them as political pawns to destabilize the Eastern bloc. Lukashenko said he had nothing to do with the crisis and that Belarus has deported nearly 5,000 illegal immigrants this fall. He spent nearly an hour on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday. After the call, Lukashenko said he will propose a resolution soon. European Union ministers met on Monday and decided to impose a fifth round of sanctions on Belarus.

Dig deeper: Listen to Onize Ohikere’s report on the anniversary of Belarus’ contested election when Lukashenko claimed power.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a WORLD reporter and a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College. She resides in Washington, D.C.


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