Embraced or pushed back: on the Polish border, sadly, not all refugees are welcome | Lorenzo Tondo

The warm reception given to Ukrainians starkly reveals the hostility to other desperate refugees on the Belarus border

At the train station in Przemyśl in Poland, thousands of refugees fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine get off the carriages every day, seeking asylum in Europe. As they arrive, dozens of Polish border guards and soldiers distribute food, water, blankets and hot tea with a smile.

I look on as the soldiers help Ukrainian women and children with their heavy luggage. I watch as they play with the children and caress their faces. As the scene unfolds, I can’t help but think that this is the same border force which, for months, a short distance north, along the same eastern border, has been violently pushing back asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan who attempt to cross the frontier from Belarus.

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