Poland to close Belarusian border crossing after journalist jailed | News

The announcement comes after a Belarusian court sentenced a journalist of Polish origin to eight years in prison.

Poland will close a key border crossing with Belarus until further notice, Poland’s interior minister said, as relations between Warsaw and Minsk hit a new low.

Already strained ties between Poland and Belarus were further strained on Wednesday when a Polish-born journalist was sentenced to eight years in prison by a Belarusian court in a trial that Warsaw claims was politically motivated.

“Due to the important interest of state security, I have decided to cancel until further notice from 12:00 p.m [11:00 GMT] On February 10 this year, traffic at the Polish-Belarusian border crossing Bobrowniki,” wrote Mariusz Kaminski on Twitter.

Bobrowniki, more than 200 km (125 miles) northeast of Warsaw, is one of the main crossing points between Poland and Belarus.

Anton Bychkovsky, a spokesman for Belarus’ state border service, said the move was unjustified and could cause congestion at remaining crossings, Russian state news agency TASS reported.

Bychkovsky told Belarusian channel STV that only two of the six main border crossings will be operational, which he said will harm truck drivers and citizens, TASS reports.

“The Belarusian side does not see objective reasons for making such a decision, given that there is no threat from the territory of Belarus,” TASS said.

Kaminski also said that due to the jailing of journalist Andrzej Poczobut, he will file a request to add new people associated with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to the sanctions lists.

A Belarusian court on Monday convicted Poczobut of “inciting hatred against religious and national groups and rehabilitating Nazism,” Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The Polish charg√© d’affaires in Minsk has been invited to the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a spokesman for the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday.

Poland has become a key haven for Lukashenko’s opponents, as well as one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies since Belarus’s ally Russia invaded the country in February last year.

Russia used Belarus as a launching point for its ultimately failed advance on the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.

In 2021, Poland and the European Union said that Belarus had created a refugee crisis on its borders, which Minsk denies. Recently, Poland condemned the vandalism of Polish graves in Belarus.

Thousands of people of Polish origin live in Belarus because the western part of the country was Polish territory until the borders were redrawn after World War II.

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