Live Updates: Poland Builds Wall to Keep Migrants Out of Country

Live Updates

Poland has urged NATO to come up with "concrete steps" amid a deteriorating situation on the border with Belarus, where troops have begun constructing a concrete wall to prevent illegal crossings from migrants.

On Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris refused to be drawn on comparisons to the U.S.-Mexico border situation but said the Biden Administration is "very concerned" about the crisis unfolding in Europe.

Meanwhile, Russia has denied stoking the crisis at the border and instead blamed Western actors.

Live updates have now ended

Live updates have now ended

Graph shows European border fences
A graph shows constructed and proposed border fences in Europe and Russia Newsweek/Statista

Belarusian government denies state airlines used to transport migrants

Reacting to news of EU sanctions against Belarusian airlines, a government spokesperson said it was "easy to verify" that national airline Belavia is not taking people from the Middle East and Africa to the EU border.

We've repeatedly stated absolutely clearly at various levels: the national air carrier OAO Belavia has never transported, does not transport, and will not transport refugees or illegal migrants. It is easy to verify. Our air carrier is completely transparent in this matter and is ready to provide all the factual information upon request at any moment. Come and see, check things. Guarantees will be provided if necessary.

Polish riot police block migrants at checkpoint

Heavily kitted out police have rushed to the border checkpoint to stop hundreds of migrants and refugees from crossing into Poland.

Polish troops have gathered to block them @BBCWorld pic.twitter.com/dhSeS11CCu

— Will Vernon (@BBCWillVernon) November 15, 2021

Amnesty International criticizes Poland for 'illegal pushbacks'

The human rights charity has told Newsweek that the Polish government "must immediately stop violently pushing people back to Belarus" as migrants try to push through border checkpoints.

Pushbacks are illegal under international human rights law. Cases of potential asylum seekers need to be considered individually and people need to be allowed to submit a claim for asylum. All countries in the European Union are obliged to uphold the right to asylum, in full respect of the Refugee Convention.

Amnesty also suggested Belarus is "facilitating the transit of people escaping human rights violations to a destination where their rights are violated again on the EU border".

EU vows sanctions against Belarus

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has just told a press conference that the bloc will impose further sanctions on the country to tackle the "perfidious" treatment of migrants and refugees.

She said the measures would focus on airlines thought to be exacerbating the crisis.

Poland accuses Belarus of 'spreading misinformation' about an evacuation

It is being reported that the mass gathering of migrants and refugees at the border checkpoint is due to false rumors, spread by Belarusian officials, that the EU and Germany will evacuate them today.

Poland is accusing Belarus of spreading misinformation among migrants that today the EU and Germany will evacuate them.
A Syrian man in the camp repeated that to us last night. He also said the Belarusians were withholding food, he thought to try to make people desperate.

— Patrick Reevell (@Reevellp) November 15, 2021

Hundreds of migrants 'probably preparing to cross the border by force'

A large group has gathered at the Poland-Belarus border crossing near the Polish town of Kuźnica. The group is on the Belarusian side of the border, near the city of Grodno.

The Polish government is warning that they could be preparing to"cross the border by force".

Illegal migrants gather at the border crossing in Kuźnica on the Belarusian side. With the support of local services, they are probably preparing to cross the border by force.

Przejście w Kuźnicy teraz#MuremZaPolskimMundurem pic.twitter.com/kaph5abPDr

— Maciej Wąsik 🇵🇱 (@WasikMaciej) November 15, 2021

IN PICTURES: Migrants and refugees in freezing conditions at border

Migrants and refugees, most of them young men from war-torn parts of Iraq and Syria, are struggling in harsh conditions at campsites across the main checkpoints along the Poland-Belarus border.

Pictures taken last night show groups huddled around campfires as temperatures reached near freezing close to the Belarusian city of Grodno.

While the EU is showing its reluctance to allow them entry to the bloc, it is has urged both countries to ensure humanitarian aid organizations can gain access to provide urgent food supplies and medical assistance.

Migrants living in makeshift Poland-Belarus border camps
Migrants living in makeshift Poland-Belarus border camps
Migrants living in makeshift Poland-Belarus border camps
Migrants living in makeshift Poland-Belarus border camps

'People should not be used as weapons': EU alarmed at humanitarian crisis

The bloc's top foreign affairs official, Josep Borrell, has raised the alarm over the "precarious humanitarian situations" at the Poland-Belarus border.

Images and videos have shown migrants and refugees starving and living in severely unhygienic conditions in camps along the border.

Spoke to #Belarus Foreign Minister Makei to raise the precarious humanitarian situation at the border with the EU. Peoples lives must be protected and humanitarian agencies allowed access.

The current situation is unacceptable and must stop. People should not be used as weapons.

— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) November 14, 2021

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

Construction is underway to build a wall to keep out migrants and refugees from Poland as the border crisis with Belarus escalates.