Poland migrant clash: UK troops deploy as young man's body brings death toll to nine

13 November 2021, 12:31

The tense stand off has proved fatal for migrants
The tense stand off has proved fatal for migrants. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

The body of a young Syrian migrant has been found at the Poland-Belarus border, as the tense stand off at the EU's frontier continues.

British troops have been deployed to Poland's eastern border as the European Union accused Minsk of trafficking Middle Eastern migrants there.

It believes Belarus is encouraging them to travel into the bloc, and possibly on to western Europe, in retaliation for sanctions.

Those were imposed for the bloody crackdown after Belarus' heavily-criticised 2020 presidential election.

The Syrian man's death has not been explained yet. He was found in the woods near the border, the ninth confirmed death involving migrants there.

Poland, along with Lithuania and Latvia, has reinforced its frontier, sending some 15,000 troops there, with an estimated 3-4,000 migrants gathering along its edge.

Read more: British troops deploy to Poland's border as migrant confrontation with Russia worsens

Britain confirmed on Friday that a small detachment of military engineers had been sent out as tensions grow.

Alexander Lukashenko, the long time president whose regime orchestrated a brutal crackdown on democracy campaigners, is strongly backed by Vladimir Putin.

Russia has conducted exercises in Belarus with nuclear-capable strategic bombers and deployed paratroopers to the region in a show of support.

The UK Ministry of Defence said on Friday: "The UK and Poland have a long history of friendship and are Nato allies.

"A small team of UK armed forces personnel have deployed following an agreement with the Polish government to explore how we can provide engineering support to address the ongoing situation at the Belarus border."