During a visit to the Polish-Belarusian border on Monday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki made an address to the soldiers stationed there, Remix reports.
For months now, the border has been the locus of illegal crossings attempted by migrants seeking to gain entrance into the EU. Previously, Poland had accused Belarus—an ally of Putin’s Russia—of using said migrants, mostly Iraqi, as weapons in a hybrid war with the EU. Belarus, it is claimed, allows them to come to its capital Minsk by plane, after which they are directed to the Polish border, with the promise of being able to acquire refugee status under EU rules.
Border unrest had reached such a fever pitch that the Polish military was called up to provide security. To encourage his security forces, Morawiecki gave a rousing speech, while making a moral distinction between the two countries, claiming that “The Polish-Belarusian border separates two worlds—dictatorship from democracy, and a normal state which cares for its citizens from a regime which uses the citizens of other countries as human shields.”
Touting the border’s strength, he also promised its future reinforcement by the construction of a barrier which is expected to be “an effective tool to protect against illegal migration.” Morawiecki went on to say that building materials had already arrived, and that provisions were made so that soldiers, with the advent of colder weather, would no longer have to lodge in tents but instead would have hotels and hostels at their disposal.
Morawiecki also pointed to gains made because of a series of diplomatic talks, which resulted in some of the migrants being returned home.
He called for continued alertness, however. “There is a chance that the regime will withdraw, but we do not know what lurks in the heads of Lukashenko [President of Belarus], and his master and sponsor from the Kremlin. We must be prepared for the worst scenarios,” he said.
Morawiecki concluded by thanking the military for their efforts in the defense of the Polish border. “The measure of a state’s sovereignty is the strength of its border and the ability to defend our territory and our border. Our soldiers and officers do this incredibly well. All of Poland is proud of you, soldiers and officers. We thank you very much,” he stated.