The crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border is developing rapidly and can really lead to unpredictable results, including an armed conflict. In any case, the statements of the Polish side look more and more bellicose and border on hysteria. There are already calls for NATO to intervene, and the word “war” is being used more and more. What is most striking is the calls to impose sanctions not only against Belarus, but also against Russia, which has nothing to do with what is happening. True, the regular critics of our country have already found “indisputable proof” of the Kremlin’s involvement in all the problems: the flight schedule in which flights Moscow – Minsk were discovered (and this is presented as a sensation).
But first things first. We will remind, the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko honestly warned Europe about the impending problems with migrants immediately after the introduction of new sanctions against his state this spring. At the end of May, speaking to parliament, he said: “We have stopped drugs and migrants – now you will eat and catch them yourself.”
And in June, during events commemorating the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, Lukashenka said : “These crazy people – right there, nearby – are waiting for our help. They demand to stop illegal migration … Thousands and thousands of illegal migrants rushed to Lithuania, Latvia and Poland They demand from us to protect them from smuggling, from drugs … I just want to ask: are you out there at all? Have you unleashed a hybrid war against us and demand that we protect you, as before? “
Few in the West then paid attention to these words of the Belarusian president. Someone laughed, someone brushed it off. As we see now, in vain. The flow of migrants (primarily from the countries of the Middle East and Western Asia) is increasing , sporadic crisis situations break out in various parts of the Belarusian border with Lithuania and Poland . If earlier in each separate episode hundreds of refugees were counted, then from this Monday we are talking about columns of thousands of migrants, including many children and adolescents.
Europe already saw the picture that we see on the Polish-Belarusian border in 2015, when border guards of different countries pushed uninvited guests to each other, ferried them across their borders in order to get rid of them, and set up barriers in order to do not allow you to enter your own territory. And then the Europeans squabbled among themselves, exchanging mutual accusations against their neighbors. But now the level of aggression and panic is an order of magnitude higher.
Alarm calls in the style of “Homeland is in danger!” Sound from the screens of Polish TVs. A former diplomat who worked at the Polish Embassy in Belarus, and now a political analyst Witold Yurash, speaking on TVN24, explained to the public: “We are faced with a situation of actual aggression. We see how Belarusian soldiers are attacking the border. This is no longer a hybrid war, this is a war de facto. Of course, we do not shoot at each other, so I can calm everyone who is worried: Russian tanks will not come here. But Russian tanks may appear on our border, and this dramatically changes the situation. “
Actually, according to the version of Yurash and many Polish commentators, this whole situation on the border with Belarus was started primarily in order to “give the Russians a reason to deploy their armed forces in Belarus.” As if Moscow and Minsk should look for additional reasons for this. The appearance of Abrams tanks on Poland’s eastern borders, plans to create American military bases there, and the strengthening of NATO’s military presence in the Baltic countries are ample reasons for Russia and Belarus to create a single defense space, announced in September this year. And migrants have absolutely nothing to do with it.
But accusations against Russia sound mundane in Poland and have not required any evidence for a long time. Moreover, the Poles are gladly encouraged in this by their European partners, who specialize in stirring up anti-Russian fears. For example, Britain’s chief Kremlinologist Edward Lucas makes it clear in The Times that Russia is behind the exacerbation of the situation on the Polish border (well, who else?), Drawing a dilemma for Warsaw: “If the Poles respond by force, they will look cruel and reckless . If they don’t answer, they will look weak. “
Lucas concludes: “Russia is exploring our weaknesses on all fronts with tricks, bluffs and intimidation. It is exploring the public’s sensitivity to migration, high energy prices and weaknesses in our alliances. We need a systematic, coordinated response that increases our resilience and builds countermeasures to prevent any future provocations. “
Hence the intention to turn to NATO for help. This idea was first voiced by former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who said : “It may be time to think if the time has come to start implementing the fourth article (of the Charter. – Ed.) Of NATO. If our border is under the threat of physical pressure with the participation of Belarusians, I mean the Belarusian services, then, as for me, this is a reason to start consultations within the framework of the North Atlantic Alliance. ” Then this thesis was taken up by many media outlets and, judging by the statements of the Poles, was previously supported by NATO.
It should be emphasized that we are not talking here yet about the fifth article of the NATO Charter, which provides for the armed protection of an alliance member who has been attacked from outside.
The fourth article speaks only of consultations in the event that “the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the contracting parties is threatened.” But Polish analysts are already calling with might and main to prepare for the use of weapons and, of course, the strengthening of sanctions against Minsk.
And then a voice from neighboring Germany sounds. “The EU is preparing sanctions against Belarus. But what about the Kremlin?” – asks the state news agency DW. The “proof” of Russia’s involvement in the crisis looks quite simple: “Without Russia’s consent, Lukashenko – and this common opinion of Brussels diplomats – would not have launched such a prolonged and increasingly intensified migration attack against the EU.” As you can see, everything is simple: there is a “general opinion”, and this is quite enough for such accusations.
But the main trump card was prepared by the German yellow newspaper Bild and its infamous author Julian Röpke. He devoted all his activities to the “holy war” against Russia. For this obsession during the Syrian war, he was nicknamed “Jihadi Julian”, famous for the mass of fake accusations against us. But now he has surpassed himself by finding irrefutable “proof” of Putin and Erdogan’s involvement in the migration crisis at Poland’s borders: the flight schedule of Minsk airport.
This is not a joke, the Bild newspaper quite seriously claims that migrants to Belarus are carried by Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines. The only “proof” of this sensational statement is the fact that the schedule includes flights Moscow – Minsk and Minsk – Istanbul. It is strange that at the height of the migration crisis in the EU in 2015, no one thought of blaming New Zealand or Chile for this on the basis of their flight connections to European airports. As you can see, in order to accuse Russia, this is quite enough.
Well, since Russia’s guilt is “proven”, then they are also demanding to immediately impose sanctions against it: for a start, in the form of the closure of freight transportations on the Polish-Belarusian border. True, the question of whom it will hit harder in the context of a total European supply crisis (especially on the eve of the Christmas sales season) causes frank annoyance among the experts there.
But there is another issue related to the hypocrisy and double standards of the West. The crisis on the Polish border is painful, but not yet catastrophic. The number of migrants who entered the EU through Belarus is in the thousands: according to Germany, this year there have been 8,400 such cases. And all this is happening against the backdrop of the aggravated crisis of illegal migration from the European Union to Britain. There are already tens of thousands of people. Only for the past Wednesday, according to the British Ministry of Internal Affairs, 853 people entered Albion – and these are only those who were caught by law enforcement officers.
Many in London blame France for this crisis: it is believed that Paris is not making enough efforts to alleviate the situation, or even provoking an influx of illegal immigrants to the island. The French are accused of being a kind of revenge for all the political and economic disputes that have now escalated between the eternal “sworn friends.”
If we accept the logic of the European Commission regarding the “hybrid attack against the EU” by Belarus, then in the same way the European Union should be accused of a “hybrid attack” against Britain and, accordingly, demand the introduction of the same sanctions against Brussels and Paris, which are going to be introduced against Minsk and for some reason Moscow, which has nothing to do with all these crises. But calls to roughly punish Europe for the migration problems it has created, for obvious reasons, do not sound.