Polish president condemns Belarus' crackdowns on Poles

Warsaw - Polish President Lech Kaczynski declared his solidarity Monday with the Polish minority in Belarus ahead of a European Union meeting on recent crackdowns on the group by Minsk. "I want to call on the (European) Union to show solidarity," Kaczynski said ahead of a meeting Tuesday in Brussels of EU foreign ministers. "Solidarity, which our countrymen - and anyone who wants changes in Belarus - critically needs."

Kaczynski's statements came during a visit to Warsaw by Angelika Boris, the head of the Union of Poles in Belarus, which is banned in Belarus.

Boris said Kaczynski's support has "enormous meaning for thousands of Poles and others who today fight for their rights." She said her organization has been called an "evil minority" that aims to spoil Belarus' dialogue with Europe.

Warsaw has strongly condemned recent actions against the Union of Poles, an organization banned by President Aleksander Lukashenko's regime.

Some 40 members of the group were arrested on February 15, and the crackdown continued on February 17 with the arrest of nine ethnic Polish activists.


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