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    Polish MFA announces expulsion of Belarusian defence attache in retaliation

    Poland is expelling the Belarusian defence attache after Minsk told three Polish diplomats to leave Belarus, a spokesman for the Polish Foreign Ministry has said.

    Last Friday, Belarus’ foreign ministry declared a Polish border guard liaison officer to be expelled and also imposed restrictions on Polish hauliers in retaliation for Poland’s closure of one of its two truck border crossings with Belarus.

    At the time, the ministry declared that the personnel of the Polish General Consulate in Grodno, located in the western region of Belarus, should be equal in number to the personnel of the Belarusian General Consulate in Bialystok, in the northeast of Poland.

    On Monday, the Polish foreign ministry confirmed that Belarus had decided to expel two Polish diplomats from Grodno. On Thursday, Lukasz Jasina, spokesman for the Polish Foreign Ministry, told PAP that “In the near future, the Belarusian defence attache will leave Poland.”

    “This is Poland’s response to Minsk’s decision to expel from Belarus a liaison officer of the Polish Border Guard and two employees of the Polish consulate in Grodno,” he added.

    Jasina verified that the liaison between the Polish boundary watch in Minsk and two Polish consuls had already departed Belarus.

    At the start of this month, Poland closed the Bobrowniki border crossing into Belarus, situated in the north-east of the country, in the wake of Andrzej Poczobut, a Polish-Belarusian activist and journalist, receiving an eight-year prison sentence for “inciting hatred against religious and national groups, as well as glorifying Nazism.”

    Bobrowniki was one of only two border crossings on the Polish-Belarusian border that had remained available to trucks.

    Due to the limitations set by Minsk, Polish truckers are only able to enter Belarus from Poland and cannot do so from Lithuania or Latvia.

    At the direction of Mariusz Kaminski, the Polish interior minister, a boundary-crossing in Kukuryki-Kozlowicze saw restrictions on Belarusian cargo traffic beginning Tuesday night.

    In response to the 2021 migration crisis, Poland has now closed two of its border crossings with Belarus. This was due to thousands of people attempting to gain entrance to Poland from Belarus, after the Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko, had misleadingly encouraged migrants from the Middle East and Africa to come to his country with the expectation of a straightforward passage into the EU.

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