Polish Govt Slams ‘Deserter’ Who Defected to Belarus and Alleged Migrants Are Being Killed

Irek Dorozanski/Polish Ministry of National Defence via Getty Images

The Polish government has publicly condemned a soldier tasked with guarding the border who has defected to Belarus and claimed migrants are being killed and buried in mass graves.

The defector, named as 25-year-old Emil Czeczko by the Polish press, gave an interview to Belarusian state television claiming that he had abandoned his country because he did not agree with its efforts to stop mostly Middle Eastern migrants invited to Belarus as tourists from breaking through the national border, which is also an EU and NATO frontier.

Czeczko made a number of lurid claims in the interview, alleging that migrants were being killed and buried in mass graves or left for the wolves, and that he had witnessed a Polish pro-migration NGO worker being shot in the forehead by a border guard.

The allegations have been vehemently denied by the Polish government, with Mariusz Błaszczak, the Minister for National Defence, indicating that Czeczko had “serious problems with the law” prior to his defection and should have never been deployed to the border in the first place.

“Stories told the Polish solider who defected to Belarus, an adversary conducting hybrid operations against Poland, are not worth a hoot,” responded Stanisław Żaryn, a government spokesman, in a message in English shared on social media.

“This man decided himself he would become a hostage at the mercy of Belarusian services; services that not only destabilise our border but also undertake aggressive information warfare and propaganda efforts against Poland,” Żaryn explained.

“It is obvious that the deserter will be used as a tool to lend credence to the anti-Polish narratives of Belarusian propaganda. This man must lie, because he knows there is no return for him after what he did.

“He’s also fully aware that the only way to escape the punishment is to bargain with the regime in Minsk, or with any other regime that sympathisers with Alexander Lukashenko, including in political terms,” he continued, likely referencing the Russian government — which the Poles believe are Lukashenko’s puppetmasters in the border crisis.

“The man’s words will be used by Belarusian propaganda, since pushing hostile narratives is an element of the aggressive operation currently conducted by Minsk against Poland,” Żaryn concluded.

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