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    Belarus’ response to Bobrowniki border crossing closure

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    The Belarusian foreign ministry announced retaliatory measures on Friday, including restrictions on Polish hauliers and the expulsion of a Polish border guard liaison officer, in response to Poland’s closure of the Bobrowniki border crossing between the two countries.

    The Ministry summoned the Polish charge d’affaires to a meeting to announce the measures in the case.

    The ministry further declared that the Polish General Consulate in Grodno, located in western Belarus, should have the same number of personnel as the Belarusian General Consulate in Bialystok, situated in northeast Poland.

    Polish truckers will no longer be able to use the Lithuanian or Latvian borders to enter Belarus; they must now cross into Belarus solely through the Polish-Belarusian border. These are the new regulations.

    Poland closed the Bobrowniki crossing on February 10, stating “reasons of national interest.”

    One of the most significant transit points between Poland and Belarus is the crossing, which became a focal point during the 2021 migration crisis when thousands of people attempted to enter Poland from Belarus.

    Later on Friday, Łukasz Jasina, the foreign ministry spokesperson, told PAP that Poland had received the Belarusian restrictions calmly.

    “We are analysing the situation in connection with the Belarusian side’s reaction after the closure of the border crossing in Bobrowniki. This kind of reaction means all possible scenarios are on the table. We will decide calmly within the coming days,”

    Jasina said.

    The Polish interior minister announced the closure of the Bobrowniki crossing and additionally declared that more people connected to Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, the Belarusian president, would be included on a sanctions list due to the conviction and subsequent imprisonment of Andrzej Poczobut, a Polish-Belarusian activist, by a Belarusian court.

    Poczobut, who is also a journalist, was sentenced to eight years in prison by a court in Grodno last Wednesday. Arrested in March 2021, he was accused of “instigating hatred against religious and national groups, and rehabilitating Nazism.”

    The Belarusian authorities have delegalised the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), to which Poczobut was active.

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