230 migrants crossed Belarus border by force, says Poland

‘Belarusian forces used lasers to try and blind Polish officers’

Some 230 migrants forced their way through the border from Belarus with the help of Belarusian border guards but were immediately sent back across, Poland said on Thursday.

“They destroyed the fence and a group of 232 people made their way several metres into Polish territory,” border guard spokeswoman Anna Michalska told Polish news agency PAP.

“The officers instructed them to leave Polish territory and escorted them to the border demarcation,” she said, adding that the incident happened late on Wednesday. The EU and U.S. accuse Belarus of manufacturing the crisis by bringing in migrants from West Asia and then taking them to the border — an accusation that Belarus denies.

In a statement, Polish border guards said the migrants “threw rocks and sticks at Polish forces” as Belarusian forces used lasers and strobe lighting to try and blind Polish officers.

The border guard spokeswoman said five migrants were taken to hospital suffering from “exhaustion”.

The border guards said there were a total of 375 attempted crossings from Belarus on Wednesday.

Aid groups say at least 11 migrants have died on both sides of the border since the crisis began in the summer.

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