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Poland backs sanctions on airlines transporting migrants to Belarus

·1-min read

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland supports imposing sanctions on airlines transporting migrants hoping to enter the European Union to Belarus, the interior minister said in a letter to his German counterpart on Thursday.

European Union foreign ministers debated new economic sanctions on Belarus on Monday, including on airlines, to halt what Brussels says is a deliberate policy by Minsk to fly in thousands of migrants from Iraq, Iran and Africa and send them across the border.

Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko denies this and has blamed the West for what he says is a looming humanitarian catastrophe this winter after migrants were stranded on the Belarusian-Polish border.

"Poland supports widening the sanctions against the Lukashenko regime and imposing sanctions on airlines that are making a profit from transporting illegal migrants to Belarus," Mariusz Kaminski wrote.

On Tuesday, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer offered to send border control officers to Poland to help the country manage the influx of migrants from Belarus, adding that Germany could also offer logistical support.

Kaminski thanked Seehofer for his offer of help, and said the Polish police and special services would work with Germany in identifying and combating people smuggling networks.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish and Anna Koper; Editing by Alison Williams)

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