The migration crisis is growing on the border of the European Union with Belarus. According to the EU authorities and member states, it is caused by the actions of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s regime. – This is his operation, the intention of which is to destabilize Poland, destabilize the European Union, and then force unilateral concessions from EU countries, also related to the easing of sanctions – said Dr. Adam Eberhardt, director of the Center for Eastern Studies in an interview with TVN24.
Since the spring, the number of attempts to illegally cross the Belarusian border with Lithuania, Latvia and Poland by migrants from the Middle East, Africa and other regions has increased sharply. The EU and its member states believe that this is the result of deliberate actions by Belarus in response to the sanctions. The Polish Border Guard records more and more people who are trying to get to Poland from Belarus illegally. From the beginning of the year, SG has recorded over 20 thousand. attempts to illegally cross this border. Since September 2, due to the migratory pressure, a state of emergency has been in force in 183 localities in the Podlaskie and Lubelskie provinces adjacent to the border with Belarus. The government also plans to build a dam on this border.
Eberhardt on the migration crisis at the border: we are losing this operation
In the opinion of Dr. Adam Eberhardt, director of the Center for Eastern Studies, “at the moment we have such a problem that when it comes to the migration operation, it is very difficult to influence [prezydenta Białorusi Alaksandra – red.] Lukashenka, whether a request or a threat. “This is his operation, the intention of which is to destabilize Poland, divide Poland, destabilize the European Union, and then force unilateral concessions from EU countries, also related to the easing of sanctions,” he said.
– What Lukashenka is playing against today is leading Europe to such a situation that we will talk about easing sanctions rather than imposing them – he stressed.
According to the TVN24 guest, “we are losing this operation, because it is very difficult to separate ethical issues, support issues, with a certain political logic that requires us to be firm, we must defend the border.” – If we open the borders of the Union to migrants, perhaps the several hundred people staying at the border will not suffer, but I am convinced that the number of migrants on our border will multiply within a few days or weeks. This is the operation of the Belarusian authorities to introduce as many migrants as possible – noted Eberhardt, adding that planes with migrants from the Middle East reach Minsk every day.
– Apart from the fact that Lukashenka takes revenge on Europe, and tries to put pressure on her, Lukashenka earns very well on it. This is a business carried out by tourist companies associated with the Belarusian special services, these are activities that have the political blessing of the Russian authorities, this is a source of income for the Belarusian elite and people associated with it, he emphasized.
When asked how many migrants may stay in Belarus while awaiting transport to the Polish border, the TVN24 guest remarked that “at this stage it is very difficult to calculate”. – It seems that at the present stage it is about 8-10 thousand people who are waiting to be transferred to the European Union. You can see an increase in the scale of the Lock operation. (…) More and more people are visible on the streets of Minsk – he pointed out.
The key “unified position of the European Union”
Asked about whether, in his opinion, the Polish authorities are effectively dealing with the actions of the Lukashenka regime, Eberhardt replied that he hoped they were “more effective than less”. – I hope that this signal that this border is closed will reduce the faith of migrants in Iraq and other countries that they will not come this way – he said.
– The problem is that for the Belarusian regime, the more people die from hiking in the forests on the border between Belarus and Poland, the better. Unfortunately, it will develop in this direction with the advent of winter – he said.
According to the expert, dialogue with the Belarusian regime “would mean capitulation, concessions to Lukashenka and not reducing the pressure, but increasing it, because the greater the pressure, the more we will be willing to make concessions”. – What is crucial at this stage is that the European Union should maintain a unified position, and fortunately it is. The entire European Union supports the keeping of the closed border by Poland – he pointed out.
Main photo source: Maxim Guchek / BelTA / TASS