New tensions between Poland and Belarus surfaced when Warsaw announced the closure of its border with Minsk after a Polish activist and journalist was sentenced to eight years in prison by a court in Belarus on charges that Warsaw claims. is “politically motivated”.
Specifically, the Ministry of Interior of Poland announced that the country closed a border crossing with Belarus.
“Due to the importance of national security, we decided to suspend the operation of a border gate with Belarus until further notice. Accordingly, from February 10 this year, from 12 o’clock (local time), transactions at the Polish-Belarusian border gate in Bobrowniki will be closed,” Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński said in a statement. An announcement.
Located in eastern Poland, the Bobrowniki checkpoint is one of six points that cross the Polish-Belarusian border. Mr. Kamiński added that the Polish authorities are also preparing to expand the list of sanctions against those who have contact with the Belarusian government. Poland also called on the entire EU to draw up a list of economic restrictions imposed on the Government in Minsk.
The move comes a day after Andrzej Poczobut, a Polish activist and journalist living in Belarus, was sentenced to eight years in prison by a Minsk court on charges of “inciting hatred and publicly calling for actions”. act that threatens national security”.
Reacting to the court ruling in Belarus, the Polish Foreign Ministry said the charges were “politically motivated” and represented “systematic discrimination against the Polish minority in Belarus”. “. The Chargé d’Affaires of the Belarusian embassy has also been summoned to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in connection with the incident.
In response, Belarus criticized Poland’s move to close the border, calling it “catastrophic”, irrational and dangerous.
“The actions of the Polish authorities could lead to a collapse on both sides of the border,” the border commission of Belarus said in a statement.
According to 2019 data from the latest national census of Belarus, about 300,000 ethnic Poles live in the country, although the Polish government claims the actual number could be as high as 1.1 million. People.
Relations between Minsk and Warsaw have been strained for years, with Poland accusing Belarus of discriminating against Polish minorities.