Polish Prime Minister Calls for Concrete NATO Action Amid Belarus Border Crisis

NATO must take “concrete steps” to resolve the migration crisis on the border with Belarus, the Polish prime minister said on Sunday, adding that Poland, Lithuania and Latvia can request consultations under Article 4 of the alliance treaty.

According to article 4, any ally may request consultations whenever, in the opinion of one of them, their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened.

“It is not enough for us to publicly express our concern; now we need concrete steps and the commitment of the entire alliance,” Mateusz Morawiecki told the Polish state news agency PAP.

Thousands of migrants have traveled to Belarus in hopes of crossing into the European Union (EU), only to find themselves trapped at the border in freezing conditions.

The EU accuses Minsk of orchestrating the crisis to pressure the bloc for sanctions, but Belarus has repeatedly denied this. Some countries in the region have warned that the confrontation could escalate into a military conflict.

Migrants gather around a fire near a barbed wire fence at a makeshift camp on the Belarusian-Polish border in the Grodno region of Belarus on November 11, 2021. Photo taken on November 11, 2021. ( credit: Ramil Nasibulin / BelTA / Handout via REUTERS)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, a key backer of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, said Russia was ready to help resolve the crisis, the RIA news agency reported on Sunday, citing an interview on a state television channel.

Morawiecki told PAP that EU leaders would discuss more sanctions against Belarus, including the complete closure of the border.

He added that the EU should jointly finance a border wall.


Meanwhile, Polish forces described an increasingly tense situation at the border, and the Border Guard said the migrants were receiving instructions and equipment from Belarusian guards and expected another “big attempt” to break through.

Images posted on Twitter by the Polish Interior Ministry showed what appeared to be a water cannon deployed at the border, as a recorded message warned migrants that force could be used against them if they did not obey orders.

The NGO Grupa Granica said in a statement that it had received information about attempts by Belarus to force migrants to use violence against Polish officials.

“Due to the risk of an escalation of violence, we want to remind all parties that migrants are not aggressors but hostages of the Lukashenko regime,” he wrote.

Belarusian Border Guard State Committee spokesman Anton Bychkovsky said the allegations were disinformation. “It does not correspond to reality,” he said.

On Saturday, a group of about 50 migrants broke through the defenses at the border and entered Poland near the town of Starzyna, police said Sunday. The Border Guard told PAP that they were all captured.


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