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Poland’s Interior Minister: We Will Not Expose Poland to Terrorism

The Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Wednesday that Poland has denied entry to a group of Muslim Chechens because the country is sealing its border to protect the nation and Europe against the threat of terrorism.

Blaszczak refused this week to admit some 200 Chechen migrants who were trying to cross the European Union's external border from Brest, Belarus. 

The Chechens protested the denial to enter Poland and demanded to speak to Polish authorities. The Chechens said they wanted to seek asylum in Poland, but past experience shows that most travel on to Germany or other western European countries.

A spokesman for Poland's local Border Guard, Dariusz Sienicki, said that some 6,000 Russian citizens, mostly Chechens, have been admitted to Poland so far this year, a 150 percent increase from the same period last year. During the same time, some 30,000 people have been denied entry. 

The Chechens claim to be fleeing the torture, abductions and extrajudicial executions that were widespread during the rule of Chechnya's Kremlin-backed leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Poland was receptive to Chechens during Chechnya's war against Russian forces, which ended in 2009, however Chechen separatists have used guerrilla tactics  to end Russian rule on their land, and Chechens are prominent among the ranks of Muslim terrorists worldwide. Two Chechen brothers were identified as the bombers who attacked the Boston Marathon race in 2013, and at least one Chechen was involved in the attack on Ataturk airport in which 44 people died.

Blaszczak said that as long as he is the interior minister and the conservative Law and Justice party is in power, he rejects the EU plan to shelter hundreds of thousands of Muslim migrants fleeing conflict in Syria, the Middle East and Africa. “We will not expose Poland to the threat of terrorism,” he said.

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