Thousands of migrants have set up makeshift camps in freezing conditions near the border between Poland and Belarus, as condemnation of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko intensified Tuesday.
Poland has accused Lukashenko of attempting to orchestrate a crisis on the European Union's eastern frontier by funneling migrants to the border in retaliation for sweeping sanctions imposed on Minsk by the bloc and other Western powers in June. Lukashenko's government has repeatedly denied the claims, blaming the West for dangerous, sometimes fatal, border crossings and poor treatment of migrants.
The diplomatic drama comes a day after ugly scenes on Monday, when groups of migrants attempted to breach the border, some of whom who were pushed toward the barriers by Belarusian services, according to the Polish border guard.
Polish authorities on Tuesday morning closed the Kuznica border crossing -- where huge numbers of migrants were seen congregating the day before.
Some 4,500 migrants are currently at the border near Kuznica trying to cross into Poland from Belarus, Polish border guard press officer Ewelina Szczepańska told CNN.
The Belarusian State Border Committee -- which is responsible for the country's external borders -- said in a statement that there are around 2,000 migrants at the scene.
Around 14,000 Polish soldiers, police and border guards are now stationed in the area, sparking fears of a major confrontation as migrants attempt to cross into Poland.
Footage provided by the Belarus State Border Committee showed migrants wrapped in coats and hoodies huddled around small campfires, with aerial shots showing camps dotted along the Belarusian side of the border close to nearby forests. The video also showed the movement of what appeared to be military vehicles on the Polish side.