Polish soldier defects to Belarus, seeks political asylum
The migrant crisis on the Belarusian-Polish borders causes a Polish soldier to defect to Belarus and ask Minsk for political asylum.
The Belarusian Border Committee said Friday a Polish soldier had requested political asylum in Belarus in protest of Warsaw's ill-treatment of asylum seekers.
A serviceman of the Polish Armed Forces, Emil Ciecko, 25, was stopped by a Belarusian border guard unit at the Belarusian-Polish borders.
Ciecko escaped from the army through the barbed wire on the borders, underscoring that he could not remain silent about what is taking place on Polish soil, the soldier told the Belarus 1 TV channel.
"I saw at least two such cases," Ciecko told the channel when asked if he saw Polish troops killing volunteers.
The Polish army had launched a search operation for the missing soldier, refraining from confirming his escape to neighboring Belarus.
Thousands of migrants had amassed at the Belarusian borders with Poland and other neighboring EU states since the beginning of summer.
The Polish border guard had recorded some 40,000 attempts by migrants to cross the border, reinforcing its side by dispatching thousands of troops, heavy military assets and equipment, and building fences.
European states have been alleging Belarus was behind the migration crisis, with the latter denying such claims and arguing it had "neither the strength nor money" to contain the influx of migrants due to the western sanctions imposed on it.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak told Polish radio station RMF FM the actions of migrants had been "masterminded" by the Belarusian security forces; an accusation that goes along with the EU narrative.