MINSK, November 20. /TASS/. The Belarusian Investigative Committee has identified 109 people affected by the Polish forces’ actions on the Belarusian-Polish border on November 16, Igor Chernyak, chief of the Investigative Committee’s department for the Grodno region, said on Saturday.
"To date, it has been unequivocally established and confirmed by the experts that water cannons, tear gas, stun grenades and chemicals were used by the Polish side against refugees. We have identified 109 people, including 22 women and 15 children, and questioned them as victims. Ten of them [the children] are very young," the investigator said, cited by the SB. Belarus Today newspaper.
According to the Investigative Committee’s department, criminal proceedings into five episodes of violence used by the Polish and Lithuanian forces against migrants are underway in the Grodno region.
"In two cases, no offer of help resulted in their deaths," the daily added.
The migrant crisis escalated dramatically on November 8 at the border of Belarus with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, where migrants have been flocking to since the beginning of 2021. Several thousand people have approached the Polish border from Belarusian territory and tried to storm into Poland.
On November 16, several groups of migrants got over the Belarusian fence near the Bruzgi checkpoint and started throwing stones and wooden sticks at Polish soldiers. In response, Polish police turned water cannons on them and used stun grenades. Two days later, about 2,000 migrants were moved from the border area to a nearby logistics depot.
European Union nations have accused Minsk of deliberate escalation and called for sanctions. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that Western states are to shoulder the blame for the crisis as their actions make people flee from war.