Nov. 16 (UPI) — The Polish military and migrants attempting to cross the border from Belarus clashed Tuesday as tensions escalated between Minsk and the European Union.
The Polish Ministry of Defense shared photos and video of troops using water cannons on migrants gathered at the the Kuznica border crossing, according to The Washington Post. Military officials accused Belarusian forces of giving the migrants stun grenades to throw at Polish guards.
The BBC reported that Polish forces also used tear gas on the migrants, who threw stones and other objects at guards. Defense officials said one Polish soldier was struck in the face by a rock and was given medical assistance.
“Today’s attack is being conducted under the strict supervision of the officials of the Belarusian services,” the Polish Ministry of Defense tweeted.
The Post said the clashes subsided by mid-afternoon Tuesday.
Poland has accused Belarus of encouraging migrants from the Middle East and Africa to travel to Belarus and then funneling them to the Polish border to seek a new life in the European Union.
The European Union on Monday announced sanctions against Belarusian airlines, travel agencies and other groups involved in taking migrants to the border area. The EU previously sanctioned Minsk after Alexander Lukashenko declared victory in a presidential widely election deemed fraudulent.