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September 01, 2020 1:29pm
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Polish soldier dies days after being stabbed by migrant at border with Belarus

A Polish soldier who was stabbed last month from behind a barrier at the border with Belarus has died, according to military officials. The soldier was hospitalized for days.

Poland's military says a soldier who was stabbed last month from behind a barrier at the border with Belarus has died. It said earlier the soldier was stabbed in the chest by a migrant who reached through the bars of the border barrier.

The soldier was hospitalized in serious condition in the town of Hajnowka. On Thursday he was taken to a military hospital in Warsaw but died there in the afternoon, the military said.

The situation at the European Union’s eastern border is increasingly tense under growing pressure and aggression from thousands of people from the Middle East, Asia and Africa trying to force the metal barrier that Poland put up in 2022 to seal the frontier.


Poland and the EU say many of the migrants are organized and aided by Russia and its ally Belarus to destabilize Europe. Their pressure intensified this spring, ahead of key elections to the European Parliament. In-person voting began on Thursday, in the Netherlands, with the other 26 EU member states due to go to the polls by June 9.

The border is patrolled by Polish army troops and border guards. Recently, some other officers also required hospital treatment for knife and other wounds inflicted from behind the barrier.

Earlier Thursday, government officials demanded explanations after it emerged that three soldiers were handcuffed and detained by Polish military police in March for having fired warning shots when faced with an advancing group of migrants on the border with Belarus.

The soldiers had allegedly fired warning shots first into the air and then into the ground as they tried to stop an advancing migrant group on Polish territory. No one was injured. Polish media report growing discontent among the military over the way their colleagues were treated.

Government officials say the detention was an excessive measure given the circumstances.

"This is a shocking case, considering the fact that our soldiers were recently repeatedly attacked by aggressors from the Belarus side," President Andrzej Duda said.

Defense Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz said the military police overreacted and demanded clarification from them and from the prosecutors who are investigating. One of the soldiers detained has been cleared of the allegations.

"The soldiers at the border are carrying out a mission for the Polish state," Kosiniak-Kamysz told a news conference Thursday.

"We are always on the side of the soldiers ... of those who carry out their tasks at the border," he said, adding that soldiers, in charge of protecting the border since 2022, have used weapons in emergency situations some 700 times.

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