‘Not Refugees’: Polish Government Fact-Checks CNN on Belarus-Engineered Migrant Crisis

migrant
LEONID SHCHEGLOV/BELTA/AFP via Getty Images

Poland’s national-conservative government has fact-checked CNN on the migrant crisis engineered on the European Union’s eastern border by Alexander Lukashenko’s Belarus.

Stanisław Żaryn, spokesman for the Minister-Coordinator of Special Services at National Security Department of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, admonished CNN after it published an article on the ongoing border crisis, which has seen mostly Middle Eastern and South Asian migrants clashing with Polish border guards, police officers, and soldiers manning the frontier.

The American news outlet, Żaryn alleged, had “missed the point” by characterising the situation as one in which “Thousands of people are stranded at the border between Poland and Belarus in terrible conditions, trapped at the center of an intensifying geopolitical dispute.”

“Migrants, who came to Belarus, are not ‘between Poland and Belarus’ — they are on Belarus[ian territory],” the Polish statesman noted, stressing the fact that “Lukashenka’s regime is fully responsible for those people.”

Żaryn added that the people involved “are not refugees — they are migrants who paid a lot to be smuggled to EU,” likely in reference to a video attached to the CNN article in which a migrant was at one point referred to as a refugee.

He also pointed out that “The whole crisis was [deliberately] created by Belarusian state, we’re not facing migratory crisis but political operation against Poland.”

Indeed, the former Soviet Socialist Republic, which is not an EU member-state, is accused by Poland, the Baltic States, Brussels, and NATO of flying migrants into Minsk direct from the Middle East and then driving them to the EU’s common external border in a “hybrid attack” designed to destabilise the bloc, in retaliation for its having placed sanctions on the Lukashenko regime for, among other things, hijacking a commercial flight from Greece to Lithuania in order to detain a journalist.

Unlike the British government, which has been doing virtually nothing about an ever-worsening boat migrant crisis since 2018, the Polish government has signalled its determination to block migrants from penetrating its frontier along the thickly-wooded Belarusian frontier.

Well over 10,000 border guards, police officers, and soldiers, including activated reserves and horse patrols, have been deployed for that purpose — but, while a Trump-style border barrier is in the works, the defences which exist at present are fairly makeshift and vulnerable to attack.

The Polish government is accusing Belarusian forces of supplying migrants with materials to destroy sections of border fencing and establish camp which will help the crisis to become a “long-term” issue.

Turkey Airlines, owned by the Turkish state — which has also been accused of engineering a migrant crisis on its land border with Greece — is accused of facilitating the Belarusian “human trafficking” operation by brining many of the migrants heading to the Polish, Lithuanian, and Latvian borders to Minsk, although it is now being reported that Iraqi, Syrian, and Yemeni passengers will be banned from flights to the Belarusian capital following threats of punitive action by the EU and EU member-state governments.

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