Belarus: Reporter recalls 'scare tactics' from Polish military

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DW News Brussels correspondent Jack Parrock has recalled being encircled by Polish soldiers close the exclusion zone near the Polish-Berlusian border. He described the troops surrounding the cars of his camera crew and the migrant activists the reporter was travelling with. Mr Parrock described the incident as an example of “scare tactics” from the Polish military. Poland is currently facing off against Belarus over the flow of migrants attempting to enter from Belarusian territory.

Mr Parrock told DW News: “The information is very difficult to access.

“I’ll just give you a short example of what happened to our filming team this evening we were called by a group of activists who go out into the forest when they’re called by the refugees and migrants for emergency help.

“They told us to meet at a point that was outside of the exclusion zone, we met them, and shortly after, because of the increased military presence here in the border region, our cars were encircled by Polish soldiers.

“They didn’t actually talk to us, but it was enough to scare the activists that we’re going to take us to meet these people in the forest.

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He added: “And enough for them to say listen, we’re not going to go and find these people who had told them that they were in dire need of support.

“The situation is extremely difficult.

“It is very, very cold here and it’s only getting colder.

“Many of these people have been in that forest for days on end, drinking from puddles in the floor, and with scarce access to food.”

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the situation on the Poland-Belarus border with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the second time in as many days on Thursday, telling him Belarus was deploying defenceless people in a “hybrid attack”.

Ms Merkel told Putin the situation on the border, where hundreds of migrants sit frozen in the no man’s land between the two countries, was caused by Belarus, her spokesperson said in a statement.

“The Chancellor stressed that the situation was caused by the Belarusian regime, which was using defenceless people in a hybrid attack on the European Union,” spokesperson Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

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It came as Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia all warned that Belarus posed serious threats to European security by deliberately escalating its “hybrid attack.”

“This increases the possibility of provocations and serious incidents that could also spill over into the military domain,” a joint statement by the countries’ defence ministers said.

The Belarus defence ministry earlier said that in response to a build-up of Polish military forces near the border it would be obliged to take “appropriate response measures”, both independently and together with its strategic ally, Russia.

Minsk added that two Russian strategic bombers were patrolling Belarusian airspace in a show of support.

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