Poland Scolds Belarus Diplomat for Nation's 'Deliberate Escalation' of Border Dispute

Poland said Wednesday that its territory was recently intruded by "uniformed individuals armed with long guns," the Associated Press reported.

Stanislaw Zaryn, the spokesperson for Poland's security services, said the encounter took place around 300 yards into Poland and that the individuals were Belarusian.

"After meeting a Polish patrol, they reloaded their weapons and then departed towards Belarus," Zaryn said. "It was enough to assume it was not a mistake."

Following the incident, Belarusian charge d'affaires Alexander Chesnovsky was requested at Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Chesnovsky was allegedly scolded by Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk, who demanded an explanation.

According to Zaryn, Wawrzyk emphasized "that the actions taken by the Belarusian authorities in recent weeks have the increasingly evident hallmarks of a deliberate escalation."

The incident comes during a turbulent time between the two countries. Poland has accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of encouraging migrants to cross into neighboring countries in order to create instability and that Poland has been targeted due to its proximity.

European Commission spokesperson Peter Stano said that the incident "would be yet another provocation from the side of [the] Lukashenko regime" if the Belarusian government confirms their involvement.

Belarusian authorities have not issued any statements. No charges have been filed against the individuals who crossed the border.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Belarus and Poland Refugees
Poland is accusing Belarus of trying to escalate the border dispute between the two countries. Above, cars and trucks travel along the A12 highway close to the Polish border on November 1, 2021, near Frankfurt (Oder), Germany. Germany's federal police said they have so far detained 7,832 illegal migrants arriving from Poland via Belarus this year, of which 5,285 were detained in October alone. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The incident comes as Poland, a member of the European Union, faces significant migration pressure on its eastern border with Belarus. That border forms part of the EU's eastern frontier with autocratic Belarus.

Wawrzyk "pointed out that Poland deems such actions unacceptable and won't tolerate them. He highlighted that Poland is determined to defend its borders and the external borders of the European Union," foreign ministry spokesman Lukasz Jasina said in a statement.

In recent months, thousands of migrants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa have been lured to Belarus on tourist visas.

Zaryn said that that there has been a "series of incidents and provocations organized by Belarusians, but this was the most dangerous and serious incident so far."

He said the other incidents have involved Belarusian forces pointing guns in the air and shooting blanks when they meet Polish soldiers and guards. In other cases, Belarusian forces have destroyed a razor-wire barrier on the border or encouraged migrants to do so, Zaryn said.

Polish Security and Migrants
Poland’s Foreign Ministry said it summoned a Belarusian diplomat over an “intrusion” into Polish territory of “uniformed individuals armed with long guns.” Above, Polish security forces block migrants on the border with Belarus in Usnarz Gorny, Poland, on September 1, 2021. AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File