Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced on Sunday that, together with the heads of governments of Lithuania and Latvia, they are considering launching Article 4 of NATO in connection with the situation on the border with Belarus. – The Polish border will be an effective and final barrier to the actions of Alyaksandr Lukashenka – he assured.
On Sunday, the Border Guard announced that the Belarusian side was preparing for a major attempt at crossing the border. She added that more groups of armed officers reach the area of the camp in Kuźnica, and the migrants received from Belarusian services, among others gas. The day before, the Polish services reported that Belarusian soldiers were destroying the border barrier.
According to the Border Guard, 223 attempts to illegally cross the border from Belarus to Poland were recorded on the last day.
Morawiecki: things have gone too far
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was asked about the situation on the border with Belarus in an interview for the Polish Press Agency.
– The Polish border will be an effective and final barrier to the actions of (Alyaksandr) Lukashenka. There is no doubt that things have gone too far. We already know that words alone are not enough to stop the Belarusian regime. We are aware that enhanced sanctions will be needed, said the head of government. He emphasized that he was talking to leaders of European countries about the crisis on the border “practically every day”.
– We work very closely with the prime ministers of Lithuania and Latvia, I spoke with them on Saturday. A few days ago, I met the head of the European Council, Charles Michel, previously I had contact with the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who recently spoke to President Joe Biden. President Biden is aware of the provocation action on the part of Lukashenka – assured Morawiecki.
Prime Minister: we are considering launching Article 4 of NATO
As the Prime Minister said, “there is a growing conviction in the European Union that the crisis we are dealing with is not only a matter for Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, but that it is a matter for the entire community”. – Moreover, there is also understanding for the fact that Lukashenka will not give up this assault on the border if we do not act together. Therefore, we will certainly discuss further sanctions, including the complete closure of the border, and thus cutting off the regime from economic benefits. We will be discussing additional sanctions during the next special summit of the European Council that I have requested, he announced.
Morawiecki revealed that the Polish authorities are discussing “with Latvia, and in particular with Lithuania, whether not to launch Article 4 of NATO”. – This solution provides that the parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of either of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the allied states are threatened. It seems that it is needed more and more. Because it is not enough just to publicly express our concern – now concrete steps and commitment of the entire alliance are needed – Morawiecki stated.
Morawiecki: blocking Lukashenka’s people’s access to the EU is not enough
On Monday, EU foreign ministers are to adopt new criteria for sanctions against Belarus. The list of people and entities subject to sanctions is to be adopted later and will include people and entities responsible for the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border.
– Blocking access to the European Union for people from Lukashenka’s circle is an important activity, but far insufficient. That is why, in the last few days, we have undertaken very intensive diplomatic efforts to block those airlines that are directly involved in the smuggling of migrants to Belarus, Morawiecki informed. He added that the action, at least partially, had already proved successful.
– Both Turkish and Iraqi airlines have declared that they will not participate in the scenario written in Minsk. I would also like to point out that our services have already detained nearly 400 people smuggling migrants. These people will be charged, he announced.
Morawiecki: a lie can only be fought with the truth
Morawiecki pointed out that “lying, manipulation and disinformation are the basic weapons of Russia, and now also of Belarus”. – The Soviets were masters in this and these skills did not disappear with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today we are experiencing it with great intensity, said the Prime Minister. He stressed that “if migrants need humanitarian support, we are ready to provide immediately any amount of food, medical supplies, warm clothes, sleeping bags”. – It is enough that the Belarusian authorities do not block the transports that we have sent many times – he added. When asked what actions the government is taking to counteract these manipulations, Morawiecki replied that “a lie can only be fought with the truth.” we have to respond with an information counteroffensive – he argued.
The state of emergency will soon end. What’s next?
The state of emergency in the border zone ends at the end of November. – We need new statutory solutions and we are finishing developing such solutions. We plan to present the project urgently in the next week. We will certainly implement additional rules that will allow our services to continue to operate effectively, said the Prime Minister.
When asked if journalists would be allowed to enter the border area, he replied: – The Belarusian regime has two types of “weapons” at its disposal: using people as human shields and disinformation. I have no concerns when it comes to presenting real data from the border, but I am afraid that in the presence of cameras the provocations will only intensify. As he stated, “today the situation is so tense that if the cordon along the border is broken, journalists would be exposed to a direct threat to their health and life.”
Morawiecki about the dam on the border: the whole community should contribute to this project
On Friday, so far unofficial information appeared that due to the security crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border, the European Commission proposed an increase of EUR 25 million in the Integrated Border Management Fund (IBMF).
– Today Poland defends not only its territory, but also the entire European Union. But we will not wait until any funds are committed. Anyway, EUR 25 million will not solve the problem – assessed Morawiecki. As he added, “it is worth remembering that the dam on the border will cost well over a billion zlotys.” – Perhaps even more than PLN 1.5 billion. It is clear to me that the whole community should jointly contribute to this project. Poland bears high costs of defending the eastern border of the Union every day, said the head of the government.
Main photo source: PAP / Irek Dorożański / DWOT