Poland almost doubles troop numbers on Belarus border


FILE PHOTO: Polish Army soldiers are seen in front of the Border Guard headquarters in Michalowo, Poland October 11, 2021. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

WARSAW (Reuters) - Almost 6,000 Polish soldiers are now guarding the country's border with Belarus in stepped up security measures in the face of a surge in migration, the defence minister said on Tuesday.

The deployment of fresh troops marks a significant expansion of the military presence on the border as only on Saturday Blaszczak had put the number of soldiers at more than 3,000.

"Almost 6,000 soldiers from the 16th, 18th and 12th divisions are serving on the Polish-Belarusian border," Blaszczak said in a tweet.

"The soldiers provide support to the Border Guard by protecting the country's border and not allowing it to be illegally crossed."

The Border Guard said that on Monday there were 612 attempts to cross the border illegally.

The European Commission and Warsaw say the flow of migrants has been orchestrated by Belarus as a form of hybrid warfare designed to put pressure on the European Union over sanctions it imposed on Minsk. Belarus has denied this.

Poland has declared a state of emergency in the region and plans to build wall on the border.

The parliament has also passed legislation that human rights advocates say aims to legalise pushbacks of migrants across its borders in breach of the country's commitments under international law.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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