WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The spokesman for Poland’s government said the authorities will ask President Andrzej Duda to extend by 60 days the state of emergency along the border with Belarus to support efforts to stop an influx of migrants there that Warsaw says is organized by Belarus.
Piotr Mueller said the government decided to seek the extension at its weekly session Tuesday.
Poland introduced a 30-day state of emergency along the border strip with Belarus on Sept. 2, banning all except border guards and other security forces from the area. Poland says Belarus is pursuing a “hybrid war” to destabilize the European Union.
With thousands of foiled attempts at illegal crossings of the EU's eastern border with Belarus in recent weeks and the deaths of six migrants, Poland’s government wants to have the ban extended.
It alleges that some of the migrants have ties to terrorist and criminal groups and says the state of emergency can prevent any attempts at provocation by Belarus.
Poland's president has the authority to announce the state of emergency and to extend it.
The governments of EU members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia accuse the Moscow-backed regime in Belarus of encouraging illegal migration into their countries by people from the Middle East and Africa in order to sow divisions and chaos within the EU.
Poland and Lithuania have reacted by reinforcing their borders with soldiers and razor wire to stop the attempted entries. Most migrants aim to reach Germany, and some have apparently passed through undetected.
The Associated Press