Border Scandal: Soldiers Shooting at Illegal Immigrants

Written by Camilla Jessen

Jun.06 - 2024 12:47 PM CET

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Photo: Wiki Commons
Photo: Wiki Commons
Scandal erupts in Poland as soldiers fire warning shots at illegal immigrants from Belarus.

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A scandal has erupted in Poland following the arrest of several soldiers who fired warning shots at a large group of illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border from Belarus.

The incident happened in March but has recently drawn attention and responses from top government officials.

Incident Details

According to the news outlet Onet.pl, three soldiers fired warning shots at about 50 migrants trying to force their way into Poland from Belarus.

At first, the soldiers fired into the air, but when that didn't work, they reportedly aimed at the migrants' legs.

The military gendarmerie detained the three soldiers for exceeding their authority, with two facing charges from the prosecutor's office.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk has called for a thorough investigation and quick organizational, legal, and personnel decisions in response to the incident.

"I received a report from the Minister of National Defense. The behavior of the prosecutor's office and the military gendarmerie towards our military causes people to be justifiably concerned and angry," Tusk wrote on the social media platform X.

Defense Ministry Response

Minister of National Defense Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz expressed his disapproval of the arrests, stating on X that "the arrest of military personnel who fired warning shots at illegal immigrants trying to break through the border is unacceptable."

He emphasized the need to protect military personnel who safeguard national security and said the actions of the military gendarmerie would be scrutinized.

Opposition politicians have vowed not to ignore the situation. They plan to visit the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Justice to conduct oversight.

Context of Border Tensions

The Polish government has reinforced its border security in response to several incidents where illegal migrants have injured military personnel and border guards.

Every day, hundreds of people from the Middle East and North Africa attempt to enter Poland illegally via Belarus.

Prime Minister Tusk has noted Russian involvement in this migration pressure, with over 90% of illegal border crossers holding Russian visas.

In response to these challenges, Poland built a 5.5-meter-high and 186-kilometer-long barrier on the border with Belarus, complete with a modern electronic monitoring system. Recently, Poland has decided to modernize this barrier.

Moreover, under the "Shield East" program, Warsaw plans to build additional fortifications, detection and warning systems, advanced bases, logistics hubs, and anti-drone systems on the borders with Russia and Belarus by 2028.

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