Poland will 'steadfastly defend' border as migrant crisis spirals: top lawmaker

  • 2021-11-09

WARSAW - Poland's parliamentary Speaker Elzbieta Witek has said her country will "steadfastly defend" its border amid a spiraling migrant crisis orchestrated by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.

In a televised address to the nation on Monday, Witek warned that the biggest attempt so far to break through Poland's eastern border was under way, the state PAP news agency reported.

She stressed that the Polish-Belarusian border was also the external border of the European Union.

"Large groups of migrants, amassed and directed by Belarusian officials, have reached the border village of Kuznica Bialostocka - we are facing the biggest migrant crisis yet on the Polish-Belarusian frontier," Witek said.

She added that Lukashenko's "hybrid maneuvers" had continued since the spring, resulting in a steep increase in illegal attempts to cross into Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.

Poland has recorded over 30,000 such attempts, according to Witek.

"Lukashenko is putting the lives and health of migrants at risk in order to provoke us and escalate the crisis," she said in her address.

"This needs to be expressly condemned and Alexander Lukashenko must heed the consequences of his actions," she added.

"An attack on the Polish border represents an attack on the border of the EU and on a member of NATO," Witek said, adding that the country's allies "have condemned this aggression, jointly and unequivocally, calling for it to end."

Witek also stated that "Poland is prepared for every scenario."

"Protecting the border is our priority," she vowed. "We will do it steadfastly and effectively," she concluded, as quoted by PAP.