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Polish PM vows to strengthen security at EU-Belarus border

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.File photo

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.File photo | Image source: Reuters

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Saturday traveled to his country’s border with Belarus, the European Union’s external border with the authoritarian country, and pledged to do more to bolster security along the entire eastern border.

Tusk accused Russia’s ally Belarus of encouraging migrants to try to enter the EU, fueling what he called a “hybrid war” against the West. He vowed that Poland would secure its borders at all costs.

“I know that there are more and more illegal border crossings every day,” Tusk told reporters at the border, where he met with Polish army soldiers, border guard officials and police.

It was Tusk’s first visit to the border since taking office in December, following the defection of a Polish judge to Belarus this month. He claimed he faced persecution in democratic Poland, but officials denounced him as a traitor and was investigated for suspected espionage.

Tusk replaces a national Conservative Party that was at odds with the EU over the rule of law. The Law and Justice party took a hardline stance on immigration when it first came to power in 2015, putting it at odds with its other European allies.

But since then, widespread sentiment against immigration has hardened across Europe. While Tusk refrained from some of the harsh anti-immigration rhetoric of his predecessor, he also opposed unregulated immigration.

“This is not only the internal border of Poland, but also the border of the EU. So I have no doubt that the whole of Europe must – and I know we will achieve this – invest in the security of Poland’s eastern border and our borders Its safe,” Mr Tusk said.

He added that he stated to the commander of the Border Security Force that “there are no limits on resources when it comes to Polish security”.

The visit comes just weeks before next month’s European Parliament elections, and Tusk appears intent on sending a message to voters that his party, the Civic Alliance, supports border security and backs military police there.

“I am here today primarily to reassure both the commanders and their subordinates that the Polish state and the Polish government stand with them in any situation at the border,” he said. “I want Polish public opinion to understand More, learn more about the extremely difficult and difficult mission faced by all those involved in protecting Poland’s borders.

In 2021, a crisis erupted when large numbers of migrants from the Middle East and Africa began arriving at the EU’s eastern border with Belarus. The European Union accuses Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko of encouraging migration and destabilizing the bloc after Belarus imposed sanctions on the country over an election widely seen as fraudulent.

Poland’s previous government responded to the crisis by building tall steel walls.

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