Brussels to Poland: protect human lives, allow EU guards to Belarus border

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 The EU executive expressed concern on Friday over the plight of migrants stuck on the Polish-Belarusian border and urged Warsaw to allow the bloc’s joint frontier force Frontex to provide assistance in policing the area.

Three migrants died on the Polish side of the border and one more just inside Belarus earlier this week while trying to cross into Poland. The causes of death have not been given. A fifth death – of an Iraqi man just inside Poland, probably from a heart attack – was reported on Friday.

Poland and the EU have both accused Belarus of encouraging migrants, mostly from Iraq and Afghanistan, to cross the border in order to put pressure on the bloc over sanctions Brussels has imposed on Minsk for human rights abuses.

“We recognise that the Polish authorities are dealing with a difficult situation. The situation has been created by an attempt to instrumentalise people for political purposes,” a spokesman for the European Commission told a news conference.

But Poland must carry out its border management duties without endangering human life or denying people necessary care, he said, adding: “The situation is very concerning.”

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