What will be the human cost of the Belarus-Poland migrant crisis?

In the News: How Belarus engineered the migrant crisis playing out on the EU’s border

In recent weeks, thousands of men, women and children have gathered at the Belarusian border with Poland where they are trying to cross into the European Union.

Belarus has been accused of driving these migrants, most of who come from Middle Eastern countries, to the border in a bid to destabilise the EU.

Poland, which has set up an exclusion zone around the border, has refused support from the EU border agency Frontex and on Tuesday, turned water canons on people throwing rocks over the border.

The EU has accused Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko, also known as "Europe's last dictator", of waging a "hybrid attack" on the union by using migrants who are desperate to reach Europe as political pawns.


Meanwhile, thousands of people remain stranded in makeshift shelters on both sides of the border in sub-zero temperatures, barred from entering the EU via the Polish border.

What is the human impact of this geopolitical crisis and what is going to happen to the thousands of people who have travelled with their families to Belarus following false promises of a safe passage into Europe?

Independent journalist Amanda Coakley, who is currently in Poland, spoke to presenter Sorcha Pollak about the brutal conditions facing those trying to cross the border and the response by the Polish government to the crisis.

Belarusian journalist Tania Reut, who currently lives in Dublin, also spoke about the wider implications of the latest sanctions on Belarus and the lengths Lukashenko is willing to go in order to assert his power on the world stage.

In the News is presented by reporters Sorcha Pollak and Conor Pope.

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Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast