A migrant on Poland-Belarus border used a shovel in an attempt to break the razor wire fence and cross from Belarus to Poland on Monday (November 8) while others tried pulling down the metal fence, video footage from Polish officials showed.
Polish authorities accused Belarus of trying to spark a major confrontation on Monday and said they had mobilised additional soldiers as footage on social media showed hundreds of migrants walking towards the Polish border.
Poland’s Defence Ministry shared a video on its Twitter page of a migrant hitting the fence with a spade while a soldier sprayed him with an unidentified substance from a can.
Other videos captured migrants using wire cutters and pulling the poles of the fence down.
Poland said it had withstood the first attempts on Monday by the migrants to force their way across the border.
The European Union has accused Belarus of encouraging thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa to cross into EU countries via Belarus, as a form of hybrid warfare in revenge for Western sanctions on Minsk over human rights abuses.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s government has repeatedly denied manufacturing a migrant crisis, blaming the West for the crossings and the treatment of migrants at the border.
Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya urged a strong response from the EU and United Nations.
Poland’s neighbour Lithuania said it was moving additional troops to the border to prepare for a possible surge in migrant crossings. Latvia said the situation was “alarming.”