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Scholars: EU, Poland Need to Talk With Minsk Instead of Fanning Enmity Against Belarus & Russia

© LEONID SHCHEGLOVA picture taken on November 8, 2021 shows Poland's law enforcement officers watching migrants at the Belarusian-Polish border.
A picture taken on November 8, 2021 shows Poland's law enforcement officers watching migrants at the Belarusian-Polish border.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.11.2021
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Tensions are simmering on the Belarus-Polish border, where thousands of undocumented migrants from the Middle East and other troubled regions have set up a camp after failing to cross the border and enter the EU. Who is to blame and what's the solution to the unfolding chaos?
Poland has rushed to pin the blame on Belarus and Russia for what it called facilitating illegal migration to destabilise the EU. Still, Minsk and Moscow dismissed Warsaw's accusation as completely false. The Belarusian leadership has explained that it has no funds to stop the refugee influx due to the European sanctions spree.
Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday called for fresh sanctions on "all those who participate in the targeted smuggling of migrants", including Minsk. On the same day, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden discussed potentially imposing restrictions against airlines carrying the refugees. A day earlier, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reassured Poland of the alliance’s solidarity with Warsaw amid the border crisis.

Migrant Influx: Chickens Coming Home to Roost

"Biden and von der Leyen addressed the humanitarian situation on the EU’s border with Belarus and expressed 'deep concern about the irregular migration flows'. Still, there was no discussion about the impact of the US and NATO occupation of Afghanistan that lasted for almost 20 years", highlights Adriel Kasonta, a London-based foreign affairs analyst and former chairman of the International Affairs Committee at Bow Group, a conservative think tank in the UK.

The unfolding blame game is not helping at all; in fact, "it’s made by design to protect the real perpetrators of yet another migrant and humanitarian crisis at our borders, namely, the United States of America and their European vassals", according to the scholar.
"I’m pretty astonished by the fact that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who has recently met with Joe Biden in Washington, failed to address the root cause of the migrant flow from the Middle East, namely, the US presence in the region and its destabilisation", Kasonta notes, adding that he does not believe Belarus should be the guardian of the EU's borders and keep migrants inside its own country.
Belarus–Poland border - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.11.2021
Poland-Belarus Migrant Crisis
Migrants Residing in Camps on Poland-Belarus Border

Moscow is Major Target of US-EU Blame Game

It appears that the root of the unfolding controversy lies in the EU's antagonism towards the government of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, deems Eurasia Centre Vice President Earl Rasmussen.

"The disintegration took a major downward step following the Ryanair incident but also to some degree as a result of EU countries supporting the overthrow of the Belarusian government and the anti-Lukashenko demonstrations following the Belarusian election", the think tank vice president says. "The EU is attempting to show strength but seems to only know the language military actions or sanctions as a means for diplomacy".

At the same time, Rasmussen does not rule out that the real target for the EU-US' blame game is Russia, Belarus' longstanding ally. By tightening the screws on Minsk, Brussels and Washington are seeking to oust the government of Lukashenko in order to replace him with a pro-Western leader and pull Minsk away from Moscow, according to the scholar.
"Instead of trying to de-escalate tensions and help people who are trapped in these inhumane conditions, we can see an intensifying blame game and Poland (most probably encouraged by the US that is now telling the EU that Russia plans to invade Ukraine) doing what Poland does best: acts as a useful idiot in Washington’s arsenal against Moscow", echoes Kasonta.
A woman holds a poster reads where is Raman Pratasevich?! as she waits to see passengers of the Ryanair plane with registration number SP-RSM, carrying opposition figure Raman Pratasevich which was traveling from Athens to Vilnius and was diverted to Minsk after a bomb threat, after its landing at the International Airport outside Vilnius, Lithuania, Sunday, May 23, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.08.2021
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ICAO Team Arrives in Minsk to Investigate Ryanair Incident, Belarusian Transport Ministry Confirms

No Unity Within the European Bloc

Meanwhile, the EU and Poland's position is weakened by the fact that there's no unity between the two, Rasmussen presumes.

"As many know, there are tensions between the EU leadership and Poland", the scholar says. "Moreover, there seems to be little support that the EU is providing to Poland, hence the actions taken".

Euronews reported on 12 November that while Warsaw is depicting itself as a "defender" of "Christian Europe" against migrant "invaders", it has ignored the European Court of Human Rights' order to provide food and medical care to a group of Afghan refugees stranded on its border for weeks. The media outlet also notes that Poland has rejected Germany's repeated offers for assistance with border protection, and has not allowed EU border agency Frontex to be present at the border. Earlier, Poland along with Hungary, Slovakia, and Czech Republic vehemently opposed the EU's migrant "quotas."
"Poland is very selective about migrants. They don’t like Muslims, Arabs, Indians, and Blacks", remarks Kasonta, adding that Warsaw is at the same time allowing Belarusians into the country".
When it comes to NATO's potential interference in the border crisis, it is highly unlikely, despite encouraging signals from Stoltenberg, according to Rasmussen: "This is definitely outside of NATO mission area", the scholar stresses.
Euros - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.11.2021
Poland and Lithuania Using Migration Crisis to Obtain Funds From EU, Belarusian Diplomat Says

Spectre of 2015 Refugee Crisis

While the blame game is raging on, the unfolding border tensions evoke strong memories of the refugee crisis which engulfed Europe in 2015, according to the observers.

"The fear of a 2015 migrant crisis repeat becomes a reality", believes Adriel Kasonta. "Nevertheless, there is a difference between the 2015 crisis and the current one, as the latter has added geopolitical dimensions because it is unfolding on the border between NATO and Russia-allied Belarus. Perhaps the recent antagonisation of Belarus and Russia serves as a tool to maintain the cohesion within the EU, which is mentally preparing for the coming crisis and needs the unifier – a topic that allows them to stick together in times when they would normally disunite".

Kasonta believes that the UN Security Council has to step in to solve the emerging problem, as neither the EU – including Poland – nor the US can be trusted. According to him, so far, "the only sensible country seems to be Lithuania that is seeking backing from the UN to open a humanitarian corridor from the Belarus border with Poland to the Grodno airport to allow migrants to return home".
Meanwhile, the solution to the problem requires Poland and the EU to diplomatically engage with Belarus through negotiations, not threats, underscores Earl Rasmussen.
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