Dramatic images of migrants stranded on Europe's northern border
A child cries in the no man's land that separates Poland from Belarus. Thousands of migrants, trying to enter the European Union, arrived here in early November. Their mission is impossible. The Polish government has sent soldiers to keep them out of its territory.
The problem doesn't end there. Migrants cannot retreat either. Some of them reported to media like the BBC that the Belarusian army is pushing them towards the border.
According to estimations, there are more than 2,000 people trapped in the cold region. They are men, women and children from the Middle East and Asia. Many have set up a makeshift camp, and their situation is one of calamity.
One of the migrants stranded on the Polish-Belarus border told the BBC of his anguish: "There is no way to escape. Poland does not let us in. Every night they fly with helicopters. They don't let us sleep. We are so hungry. There is no water or food here."
The images of children and elderly people involved in this tragedy are staggering. What caused this new migratory crisis?
Migrants are geostrategic pieces in the quasi-war tension that exists between Poland and Belarus. Polish (and other Baltic) authorities accuse the neighboring country of leading large groups of people to the borders of the European Union.
The Belarusian government is using these asylum seekers as a political weapon to get the European Union to lift the sanctions imposed on the country, whose government is accused of electoral fraud and severe repression. Belarus has even threatened to cut off gas supplies to the continent.
Polish military mobilization appears to have been geared towards war: 15,000 soldiers have been deployed along the border. The country's Ministry of Defense has announced that it's adding another 10,000 soldiers to bolster security.
The migrants seeking to enter the European Union come from countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
Latvia and Lithuania had a similar problem at their borders in August 2021, and they also blamed the Belarusian government.
European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen has demanded that Belarus stop pushing migrants to the border. She warns that lives are at stake. Winter is approaching and temperatures are lower every day.
The diplomatic climate is tense. NATO has openly expressed its support for Poland.
Euronews reports that the European Union is preparing to harshly punish Belarus. The country is currently led by Aleksandr Lukashenko whose democratic character the EU questions.
Meanwhile, people are living in miserable and tragic conditions at the gates of Europe. They await a resolution of the situation while neither side is making any moves.
Mass migrations are an unremitting drama for the countries involved. Across the Atlantic, a similar drama occurred when Haitians were chased across the Mexican-US border.
Spain is another sought after territory in Europe. Africans, especially from Morocco, risk their lives in canoes (or even swimming) to reach the south of the country. Many have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.
At the Polish-Belarusian border, some fear that there could be a clash between the nations' troops. No one could have imagined such a scenario, but both Poland and Belarus have made extremely aggressive statements.
The migrants are in the middle of it all. For now, Poland is quickly expelling anyone who manages to enter its territory illegally. Dozens of migrants have already been deported.
The far-right Polish government wants to show that this is the right line for Europe. They do not favour the welcoming and humanitarian stand but instead argue for expulsion and defense of the borders at all costs.
According to Euronews, Poland plans to spend $350 million to build a border wall, in the style of what Trump promised (and partly built) in the United States. The Polish government wants the European Union to help finance it.
The European far right is on the rise and images of migrants at the borders are ammunition for its speech. Extremist parties speak of an "invasion" against which they must defend themselves.
Only NGOs are discussing the option for European countries to host the displaced persons. The problem of migration remains very complicated for all governments on the continent.