Belarus migrants: Body of young Syrian man found at Polish border as Britain sends troops to help with crisis

·2-min read

The body of a young Syrian man has been found on the Poland-Belarus border, bringing the death toll from the migrant crisis there to at least nine.

Polish police said on Saturday that the body had been found in woodland near the village of Wolka Terechowska.

The exact cause of death could not be determined, they added, but most of the migrant deaths at the border have been the result of hypothermia in sub-zero temperatures.

British troops have now been sent to the region to "address the ongoing situation at the Belarus border", the Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed.

It said in a statement that a "small team of armed forces" have been deployed as "the UK and Poland have a long history of friendship and are NATO allies".

It is understood the group consists of around 10 engineers.

Thousands of migrants fleeing conflict in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the Middle East have been trying to get into Europe via Belarus since the summer.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is accused of enticing asylum seekers to his country with tourist visas and then encouraging them to enter its three neighbouring EU states illegally.

Poland, Latvia and Lithuania have been reinforcing their borders with thousands of soldiers in a bid to stop the new migration route.

Mr Lukashenko is thought to be seeking revenge for crippling European sanctions imposed after he won national elections last year.

The vote was widely considered to have been rigged, with violence and intimidation triggering mass protests across the country.

Belarus' ally, Russia, says the EU should pay the non-member state to help deal with the migrant crisis, in a similar way it did with Turkey in 2015.

After a phone call between the two leaders this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted the border crisis is "nothing to do with Belarus".

Flying to Camp David yesterday, US President Joe Biden said the crisis was of "great concern".

A group of Western countries signed a strongly worded joint statement on Thursday, accusing the Lukashenko regime of "putting migrants' lives at risk" and trying to "divert attention away from its own increasing human rights violations".

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