More British troops will be deployed to Poland’s border with Belarus to help deal with the migrant crisis.
Thousands of migrants, mostly from the Middle East, have tried to cross into the European Union on the border between Poland and Belarus in recent weeks.
Britain and allies have accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of engineering the crisis, with Defense Secretary Ben Wallace saying the migrants are being used as “pawns”.
The Daily Telegraph reported that about 100 soldiers of the Royal Engineers will be sent to help physically reinforce the Polish border although details of the deployment are still being worked out.
Mr Wallace, who visited British troops training in Poland, told the newspaper: “Can you imagine going from Iraq, to here, on the border, not a lot of clothes, not a lot of food, not a lot of money, and then to be a pawn in the Belarusian language, the leader’s game? I think that’s heartless and I think it’s cruel. “
Western governments have accused Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, of deliberately urging migrants to break its borders in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the EU in response to his repressive rule.
Mr Wallace said he believed Moscow would “see what it’s all about and recognize that, you know, Europe and NATO and the West are paying attention to what’s going on”.
Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel attacked the European Union, claiming that the open borders within the bloc had caused France to be “overwhelmed” with migrants seeking to reach Britain.
“Let’s not forget that the real problem with illegal migration flows is that the EU has no border protections – Schengen opens borders,” she told reporters during a trip to the United States.
The Times reported that Ms Patel said she had obtained an agreement from the French government that it would allow drones and other air surveillance and number plate reconnaissance cameras to track the movements of migrants and human traffickers in northern France.
“I think it’s fair to say that they (France) are overwhelmed. That’s a fact, ”she said.
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