Polish forces use tear gas, water cannons on migrants at border

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Nov 16, 2021, 04:15 PM(IST)

Image shows water cannons being used against migrants who appear to throw stones at polish forces Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Use of tear gas has been confirmed by Polish foreign ministry. The migrants on the Belarusian side of the border could be seen throwing stones at Polish forces

Polish defence ministry said on Tuesday that the country's forces used tear gas against stone-throwing migrants seeking to cross the border at eastern village of Kuznica.

"Kuznica: migrants attacked our soldiers and officers with rocks and are trying to destroy the fence and cross into Poland. Our forces used tear gas to quell the migrants' aggression," the defence ministry said on Twitter.

In addition to this, water cannons were seen being used at the border near Kuznica. The water cannons were used by Polish forces from their side of the border. In visuals that appeared to have been taken from a drone, Polish water cannons could be seen spraying water through the border fences.

The migrants, massed on the Belarusian side of the border were seen dispersing. Few of them were seen to pick up rocks to throw at the water cannon vehicles.

Meanwhile, Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday he wanted to avoid confrontation over migrants at the Polish border in a crisis that the EU has accused him of orchestrating. 

His comments came after the EU and the US vowed to expand sanctions on Belarus this week, with thousands of migrants -- mostly from the Middle East -- camped at the Polish border in freezing temperatures.

Brussels says Belarus's authoritarian leader has lured the migrants to the EU's doorstep, charges that Minsk has denied.

"We cannot let this so-called problem lead to heated confrontation," Lukashenko told a government meeting, according to state news agency Belta.

"The main thing now is to protect our country and our people, and not to allow clashes."

Lukashenko discussed the crisis with Germany's Angela Merkel on Monday, his first phone call with a Western leader since he suppressed mass protests against his rule last year.

(With inputs from agencies)

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