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Moscow to back Minsk in probe of Poland’s brutal actions against refugees, says diplomat

Cases of migrants brutalized by Polish border guards were documented by UN and EU specialized agencies, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stressed

MOSCOW, December 30. /TASS/. Russia will provide Belarus with all the required assistance in initiating a probe into the actions of the Polish authorities against refugees stranded on the Polish-Belarusian border, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

The testimony by Polish soldier Emil Czeczko, who fled to Belarus and revealed the Polish servicemen’s complicity in the killings of refugees, requires "a thorough international investigation," the Russian diplomat stressed.

"It is strange that instead of providing substantiated replies, the Polish side is trying to discredit this man and is actually distracting attention," the spokeswoman pointed out.

"If [our] Belarusian colleagues initiate a probe into the flagrant facts revealed by serviceman Czeczko, we will render the required support to them, including through our mutual commitments under the Program of Concerted Actions in the Foreign Policy of the States - Parties to the Union State Treaty," Zakharova outlined.

Poland’s reaction was particularly disturbing in the wake of a state of emergency declared by Warsaw that denied the media and humanitarian organizations access to the border territory. Zakharova pointed out that cases of migrants brutalized by Polish border guards were documented by UN and EU specialized agencies.

Russia also shares Minsk’s intent to pursue an international investigation into an incident on November 16, when Polish forces sprayed toxic chemicals, which resulted in 132 refugees, including 23 children, receiving chemical burns and damage to their lungs, Zakharova specified.

"We would want our Western partners to show that they are right-minded people and behave decently and show where it is written that such cases are possible. Somewhere in those EU and NATO documents and, maybe, in some additional ‘doctrines.’ Perhaps, it is formulated somewhere in their papers that can be read under the shelf. If this is impermissible, then it is necessary not to remain silent and to denounce the culprits and bring them to justice," she pointed out.

Czeczko, a serviceman of the 16th Pomeranian Mechanized Division of the Polish armed forces, crossed over to the Belarusian side of the border on December 16 and sought asylum in the country, saying he disagreed with Poland’s brutal policy toward migrants.

In Poland, Czeczko is facing charges of desertion and a court-martial.