A fabricated border crisis puts Belarus back in the spotlight

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indignation between European Union officials saying Belarus is deliberately trying to inundate Middle Eastern migrants in Poland, and Lithuania reached new heights on Monday, with the European Union announcing that it will sanction airlines that special arrangements to fly migrants from Iraq, Syria and other Arab nations into Belarus in the last months.

The announcement comes after the accusation of the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to engineer the migration wave as part of a “hybrid attack” against European Union. Analysts claim that Lukashenko governmentthe goal is to foment European Union political divisions over immigration and destabilizing neighboring Poland and Lithuania: two pro-democracy European Union member nations – as a way to take the pressure off his own regime.

The clash has again blocked the land Belarus at the center of an international crisis, with the United States and Russia dragged to opposite sides of the stall.

Belarus officials fired European Union allegations Monday. “We don’t have to coordinate anything, the refugees themselves say where they are going and why,” a spokesman for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said on Monday, according to Russia‘S TAX Press Agency. “We are a transit country in this case.”

The Biden administration has linked developments in the Kremlin, arguing that Belarus is actually used since government of Russian President Vladimir Putin to signal his unhappiness towards the United States and its Western allies and to mask the build-up of border troops and Moscow’s campaign of military intimidation against Ukraine.

“The actions of the Lukashenko regime threaten security, sow division and aim to distract from Russiaactivities on the border with Ukraine ” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Sunday.

According to the Associated Press, up to 4,000 migrants are currently stranded in makeshift camps in the freezing weather along the Belarusian side of the border with Poland. Recent attempts to break through the border – and in the European Union – were forcibly met by Warsaw.

Poland recently strengthened the border with 15,000 Polish soldiers, as well as border guards and police. Lithuanian officials say they too see an increasing number of attempts by migrants to enter Lithuania from Belarus, but that the situation at the border is under control.

The wave of migrants has been piling up for months. A New York Times report over the weekend quoted Iraqi travel agents as saying: Belarus relaxed visa rules in August, making flights to the country from Iraq a trip to Europe more palatable than traveling overland to Turkey and attempting a perilous sea crossing to Greece. Were there any travel packages too? Belarus and get accommodation for a couple of days, presumably in preparation for an offer to enter an European Union country.

Many of the migrants stranded on the Polish border are believed to be trying to make their way west to Germany. Polish authorities said Monday that Belarus Officials had led a large group to a border crossing with Poland and led them to believe that they would be transported by bus to Germany. Polish police say they are broadcasting messages across the border telling migrants that “they have been deceived”.

‘Opportunistic’

Germany is the coveted destination not only for its prosperity, but because it has earned a reputation for granting asylum to Arab and Muslim refugees from the Syrian Civil War from 2014 to 2016, when more than 1 million refugees poured into Western Europe. and in Berlin he agreed to take most of them under Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The previous wave sparked strong political divisions in Germany and many other Western European nations, a reality that the Putin government has sought to exploit as part of its ongoing attempts to sow discord among NATO member nations.

“It has spurred the rise of anti-immigrant and extremist parties,” said Donald Jensen, who heads the Russia and strategic stability project at the United States Institute of Peace.

Mr. Jensen told the Washington Times on Monday that the Kremlin is “opportunistic” and eager to exploit the current crisis to Russiathe advantage in the region. He stressed, however, that the dynamics taking place in Belarus are complex, and it is unclear whether Moscow, the Lukashenko government, or a combination of both is responsible for orchestrating the current border crisis.

The region has become a powder keg in recent years, with Russia support pro-Moscow separatists fighting the Ukrainian government and getting close to Lukashenko regime in Belarus, where Mr. Lukashenko it was nearly overthrown by opposition protests last year and clashed with neighbors over human rights abuses.

Few dispute that Mr. Lukashenko he has increasingly aligned himself with the more powerful Putin over the past year. “But it’s not clear whether the dog is wagging its tail or whether the tail is wagging the dog with this wave of migration,” Jensen said.

“Maybe this was invented by the Kremlin using Lukashenko put pressure on European Union, ” Hey She said. “But you also have Lukashenko trying to maneuver Putin into a position where he has some leeway to remain as Belarusian leader. we have seen Belarus drifting towards addiction to the Kremlin, and my opinion is that Lukashenko is trying to resist. So HeyIt’s done here is to create this crisis, and now the Kremlin has to support he up or not. “

In any case, the RussiaBelarus The alliance is being tested amid mounting regional tensions.

A focus on Ukraine

Many in the region say developments involving migrants, as well as a growing energy crisis across Western Europe, can be traced to Moscow, which denies exploiting its dominance over the natural gas and oil markets as a political tool for exert influence on the region.

Ukraine in particular has clearly expressed the need for clear signals of support from Washington and European Union to counter what he says is a multi-faceted campaign of pressure orchestrated by Moscow.

“We should all understand that what is taking place in Europe now is a very complicated game with many elements in it: energy crisis, propaganda efforts, disinformation, cyber attacks, military developments, an attempt to Russia digest Belarus [and] elements of [a] migration crisis, ”said Mr. Kuleba on Wednesday.

“We must remain vigilant,” said the Ukrainian foreign minister. “We have to be resilient.”

The Biden administration’s approach has been heavily centered on Ukraine, a long point of friction between the West and the post-Soviet Russia and whose battles with corruption have intertwined with US domestic politics in recent years.

Administration officials last week said they feared Russian forces may be on the verge of entering Ukraine to “relive” the chaos that resulted in Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, warning the Kremlin that states United and their allies have pledged to help Ukraine defend itself.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels on Monday that the military alliance was watching Russiamoved against Ukraine with caution, but seemed to suppress speculation in Washington that a military invasion of the Kremlin might be in the offing.
“I think it is also important that now we do not increase the tensions, but we must be lucid, we must be realistic about the challenges we face,” he said after a meeting with Mr. Kuleba.

The 27-country European Union has already imposed four sets of penalties on Belarus authorities and senior officials for last year’s controversial August elections that returned Mr. Lukashenko in office and the security crackdown on peaceful protesters that followed. The former Soviet farmer has now been in power in Minsk since July 1994, shortly after the country broke away from the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The European Union is preparing a fifth round of sanctions and on Monday the bloc’s foreign ministers extended the scope of those measures to add airlines, travel agents and others accused of helping bring migrants to Minsk.

“Today’s decision reflects the determination of the European Union oppose the exploitation of migrants for political purposes. We are rejecting this inhumane and illegal practice “, European Union The head of foreign policy Josep Borrell said in a statement.

European Union Headquarters said the bloc will now be able to target individuals and entities who organize or contribute to the activities of the Lukashenko regime that facilitate illegal crossing of the European Unionthe boundaries. A list of those affected by the asset freeze and travel bans is expected to be finalized in the coming days.

In Washington, the State DepartmentMr. Price said Washington is also “preparing follow-up sanctions in close coordination with the European Union and other partners and allies who will continue to hold the Lukashenko regime responsible for its continuous attacks on democracy, human rights, international norms “.

The Lukashenko government answer the European Union after Monday’s announcement. “We will have to react harder,” the Belarus The foreign ministry spokesman said, according to TAX.

“We defend our independence and we will be ready to take any measure, even the toughest,” said the spokesperson. “What type [of measures], this will be decided by the government which has action plans for any development of the situation. “

This article is based in part on reports from news agencies.

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