Afghan refugees in Poland refuse to return to Belarus

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A group of about 30 refugees from Afghanistan who have been detained on Poland’s eastern border for days say they do not want to be pushed back to neighbouring Belarus, according to Polish border guards.

On the initiative of the Polish authorities, the Belarusian side attempted to take the entire group with them, the border guards announced on Twitter on Sunday. “More than half of the foreigners have left the area. The rest do not want to vacate the camp site.”

The migrants are camped near the village of Usnarz Gorny near the border. According to a report by the Polish news agency PAP, there are 32 Afghans in total.

Polish soldiers and border guards have surrounded the refugees and blocked access with vehicles, according to the report. Armed security forces can be seen on the Belarusian side.

Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko announced at the end of May that Minsk would no longer prevent migrants from travelling on to the EU – retaliation for tightened sanctions against the former Soviet republic.

Since then, Lithuania in particular has been struggling with a surge of migrants from the Middle East entering the country illegally across its long border with Belarus. Recently, pressure on Poland has also increased.

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