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EU soldier dies after clash with migrants on Belarus border – as PM blames Russia

Poland is mourning a 22-year-old soldier who has tragically died after he was stabbed in the chest by a migrant. The soldier, named only as Mateusz, was defending the eastern border with Belarus last month when a migrant attacked him with a knife attached to a long branch and stabbed him through the border wall.

A security video from the day of the attack was later released showing migrants throwing large branches and other objects at Polish soldiers who were giving CPR to the stabbed soldier.

The soldier was hospitalised in a serious condition in the town of Hajnowka. On Thursday he was taken to a military hospital in Warsaw where, sadly, he succumbed to his wounds.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that the young soldier had “given his life in the defense of Poland’s border”. He wrote: “The motherland and his compatriots will never forget about this sacrifice. I extend words of deepest sympathy to his family.”

Polish Defense Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz said that the soldier had “died while defending the Polish border” from “a bandit attack,” and called on his compatriots to “honour his memory”.

The Polish foreign ministry on Thursday summoned the Belarusian charge d’affaires, demanding that Minsk authorities identify and hand over the soldier’s “murderer,” according to Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski.

Hours after the death was announced, dozens of Poles gathered outside the military hospital to lay flowers and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.

The fence between Poland and Belarus was erected in 2022 to stem the flow of illegal migrant crossings, which had spiralled out of control.

Mr Tusk blamed Russia and Belarus for the surge in attempted migrant crossings which led to Mateusz’s death. He accused them of attempting to destabilise the EU through “hybrid warfare”.

Following the stabbing, at the end of May, Mr Tusk pinned the blame on Vladimir Putin, saying: “It is the Russian state that is behind the organisation of the recruitment, transport and attempts to smuggle thousands of people into Europe.”

For months, Poland and the EU have claimed that most of the migrants attempting to cross into the country are aided by Russia and its ally Belarus as part of an attempt to spark a crisis within Europe.

Thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa have tried to force their way through the barrier. According to Polish officials, about 90 percent of the migrants at Poland’s border hold Russian visas.

Latest figures from the Polish Border Guard state there have been some 17,000 attempts at illegally crossing the border this year so far.

Last month the Polish government pledged to invest €2.3billion (£1.9bn) to bolster security along its eastern border.

Announcing the investment, Mr Tusk said: “We have begun these works to make Poland’s border a safe one in times of peace, and impenetrable for an enemy in times of war.”


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