Donald Trump has left White House almost a year back, but his idea of wall between US and Mexico is fast spreading world over. Ukraine needs to spend millions of dollars to beef up its eastern borders in order to stop potential illegal crossings and protect the country from purported foreign “aggression,” Kiev’s minister of internal affairs has insisted.
Speaking to lawmakers on Friday in Kiev, Denis Monastirsky requested around US$ 640 Million be allocated for engineering equipment on the frontiers with Russia and Belarus, which span a whopping 1,974 and 1,084 kilometers (1,226 and 673.5 miles) respectively. According to the official, Kiev’s updated demarcation line cannot be just a concrete wall with towers, but an “intelligent” complex of barbed wire barriers and fencing, alarm systems, unmanned aerial apparatuses, and 24-hour intense surveillance. Relations between Russia and Ukraine continue to deteriorate.
He went on to add that “the Verkhovna Rada [Ukraine Parliament] needs to be ready to consider the introduction of a state of emergency in the border areas or its regions if it deems necessary,” as Poland and Lithuania have done in response to a sharp rise in illegal migrants. However, he said, “There is no such need yet.” “In the event of aggressive actions from border violators, the use of the necessary special means and weapons is being made available,” Monastirsky continued. “We understand that in case of a threat to the life and health of border guards and law enforcement officers, we will use all the necessary means provided by law, including firearms.” A clear warning message.
Migrant crisis is a new political tool which is being used by the NATO countries and Russia supported nations and these migrants are pushed into Europe to fervent trouble, change social balance of power and add immigrants which do not integrate with the local population of the white majority EU Nations.
The ongoing migrant crisis unfolding on the EU’s eastern borders has escalated in the last two weeks as thousands of desperate people, largely from the countries such as Iraq, Iran, and Syria, have attempted to enter Poland and Lithuania via Belarus.
However, attention has also turned to Kiev in the midst of the worsening situation, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claiming that Minsk’s actions “threaten security, sow division, and aim to distract from Russia’s activities on the border with Ukraine.”
Moscow has repeatedly insisted that it is not involved in the worsening humanitarian situation amidst accusations from the Western politicians and talking heads that Belarus and Russia are waging a “hybrid war.” Earlier this month, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov blasted rumours of a Russian military build-up near the borders with Ukraine and said that the country “poses no danger to anyone.
In parallel a standoff between foreign migrants and Polish border guards has become the biggest challenge to the EU’s borders in years. The crisis appears to be stoked by the leader of Belarus over the country’s tensions with the bloc. The game plan was advertised in the Middle East and this pushing of immigrants from the North Africa, Iraq, Syria and even Iran has become a multibillion industry with able support from the dark web. After the immigrants could not get pushed into Europe, they were flown back from the Minsk and they appeared to be from rich class moving away from the Middle East anarchy to the clean environments of EU, but water cannons and strict vigil by the EU smashed the dreams of the infiltrators.
Poland’s defense minister said on Wednesday that the crisis at the border with Belarus, where thousands of migrants are trying to cross, could take months to resolve, even as there were signs that the confrontation might be ratcheting down. Although some have managed to cross the border with Belarus in recent weeks, Poland has now strengthened its border fence and closed crossings in response to what is widely seen as a manufactured crisis by Belarus’ authoritarian President, Alexander Lukashenko, who is accused of using the migrants as pawns in a game of blackmail with the EU. This is being done to take revenge against the EU.
Here’s a look at how the crisis started, and what Belarus appears to be trying to accomplish. How did tensions ramp up at the border? Since early this month, a wave of migrants from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other countries, have been camped in the sprawling Białowieża Forest at the border in freezing temperatures, which was nicknamed ‘the jungle’. They are hoping to cross into Poland. Belarus has been accused of encouraging migrants to fly to its capital Minsk, before pushing them toward the border with Poland, and even encouraging them to clash with Polish authorities. It’s a charge than Lukashenko’s regime has denied. They have also been accused of giving them bullets and grenades.
The standoff has seen Polish border guards using water cannons and tear gas this week to turn back stone-throwing migrants on the Belarus side. Belarus is not a European Union member, but Poland is. For the migrants, Poland represents a doorway to the EU and the promise of a better life. The present day crisis reminds me of the 2015 crisis in which migrants were given entry and money was given to Turkey such that these mostly Muslim refugees can stay in Turkey but Germany then agreed to take migrants in their nation. Although only about 3,000 to 4,000 migrants are trying to cross, it has become the biggest challenge to the EU’s border since 2015, when hundreds of thousands of migrants gathered in Turkey to cross over into Europe. More than a million migrants were eventually allowed into the bloc, which has become the catalyst to create migration of the immigrants again.
Like thousands of other Iraqis and Syrians, Gaylan had traveled to Belarus on an easily obtained tourist visa in the hope of getting to Germany and starting a new life. But he never made it there, dying in a dark and soggy forest on the Belarus-Poland border.
“It’s a terrible situation,” for those caught in the forests without food or proper clothing, says Hanna Liubakova, a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. Many of them were lured there by Belarus, the EU says. Tourism agencies in Belarus have offered promises that “it would take only a few hours to get through the forest and swamps,” to cross the border. For most, she says, Poland is seen as only a first stop in the EU. They are hoping to settle in countries such as Germany. Several migrants trapped at the border and living in the open or in makeshift tents have died in the freezing conditions.
People are being “duped” and ‘cheated’, says Emre Peker, the Europe Director at the Eurasia Group, a consultancy organisation. “Some are coming from war-torn places. Some are coming from not so ideal backgrounds and circumstances.” “They’re paying good money to take that risk and to try and make a better life for themselves.”
Belarus is advertising this push in even in far off nations like Cuba. Two migrants from Cuba, Doniel Machado Pujol and Raydel Aparicio Bringa, who said they’d survived on river water and kernels of raw corn and slept under piles of leaves before they were apprehended by the Polish police. “We flew from Havana to Moscow, and then a man picked us up and drove us to Belarus, and that’s where our journey got a lot worse,” Machado Pujol, injured and malnourished. The EU accuses Belarus of luring global migrants into other European countries. Russia is a close ally of Belarus, and Moscow is “a significant transit hub,” Peker says. “Russia has so far not shown any desire or willingness to scale back flights to and from the Middle-East and Minsk to sort of curb the arrival of these would-be migrants.”
This week, Polish guards used water cannons and tear gas against stone-throwing migrants at the Kuznica-Bruzgi border crossing. These are the kind of scenes that appear to play into the hands of Lukashenko, who is angry at the EU for sanctions imposed on his regime in the wake of August 2020 elections.
What does the leader of Belarus hope to accomplish? Lukashenko, who has held power in Belarus for more than a quarter century, was returned back to power last year for a sixth-term as President in a vote widely viewed as fraudulent. What followed was a violent crackdown on dissent amid anti-government demonstrations that followed the fraudulent poll.
In May, Belarus forced an international flight to land in the Belarussian capital of Minsk so that authorities there could arrest journalist Roman Protasevich, the former editor and founder of an opposition blog and social media channel, who was aboard the Ryanair jet. The brazen act prompted the EU to impose retaliatory sanctions. Shortly after, Lukashenko then hinted at his ability to quickly gin up a migrant crisis against his EU neighbours: Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.
“Lukashenko wants to show his revenge for sanctions,” says Liubakova of the Eurasia Center. But the leader also wants to switch the discussion from political prisoners, torture and repression under his rule to something external, she says: “He wants to focus the situation and force the West to see the crisis at the border and ignore the human rights situation in Belarus.”
But the Belarusian leader has also been diplomatically isolated since last year’s election. “His key aim is to restore contact with European leaders,” points Maxim Samorukov, a fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center. “He understands force and believes that [the EU] can be forced to restore dialogue,” Samorukov says. The EU is planning additional sanctions against Belarus in response to the migrant crisis. But since sanctions are a main reason that the situation has come to a head, it’s not clear how much impact they would have. Meanwhile, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the situation on Monday with Lukashenko in a rare phone call between the two leaders. Germany would likely receive the largest influx of any new migrants if Poland opened its doors. She and Lukashenko agreed that the situation needed to be defused, but Lukashenko said he and Merkel did not see eye to eye on how the migrants got to Belarus, according to Deutsche Welle.
Their talk appears to have helped de-escalate the situation at the border amid reports that Belarus is putting migrants on buses to be transported out of the area. Merkel also spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking him to use his leverage on Lukashenko. So, Lukashenko has succeeded in re-opening dialogue, but it’s unclear where that might lead, given continued international distaste for his heavy-handed and undemocratic tactics.
Meanwhile, the fate of the migrants is also unclear, but both Poland and EU are determined not to let in any refugees in EU. Jan Egeland of the Norwegian Refugee Council told NPR’s Morning Edition that “both sides of this abject power play should take responsibility for these migrants, who are vulnerable people.”
“They are men, women and children that have now come in some kind of a political crossfire,” Egeland says. “The European Union and Poland are obligated to hear the case of asylum-seekers. That’s international law. And Belarus and Russia have to stop this using them as pawns on some kind of a chessboard.”
Europe was a battleground of the 1st world war and boundaries of the different nations got changed and some nations annexed their neighbours land boundaries, which resulted in the 2nd world war to reclaim land but even after the Germany surrendered the internal movements of minorities and ethnic communities changed demography. 43 nations join to form EU and now they will set up walls to see that migration of population do not change both the demography and national boundaries and individual nations like Denmark are forcing the muslim population to leave back to Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, their country of origin.
Life is a full circle!
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