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Russian MFA on Belarus-Poland Border Crisis: West Should Bear Responsibility for Refugees

© 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, 23.12.2021
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Poland has accused Minsk of orchestrating the migrant crisis at the border, which saw thousands of migrants attempting to cross into the EU. Minsk has categorically denied the accusations and in turn criticised Warsaw and Brussels for not taking in the refugees.
The West should bear responsibility for destabilising the Middle East and North Africa by accepting refugees from these regions, Commissioner for Human Rights at the Russian Foreign Ministry Grigory Lukyantsev has said. The official made the statement while commenting on the migrant crisis on the border between Belarus and Poland.

"We must not forget about the root causes of this [migration] crisis, why all this has emerged. And the root cause of all this is interference in the relevant processes in the Middle East and North Africa, the destabilisation of the political situation, the political regime, interference in internal affairs, and the destabilisation of the region", Lukyantsev said.

The diplomat then went on to accuse Poland of violating human rights treaties drawing attention to complaints filed against Warsaw as well as Lithuania and Latvia.

"What we see from the photographs, from what comes to the information space, these are scenes, including cruelty and deprivation, and the use of special means by law enforcement agencies and the armed forces of Poland against migrants. And judging by these photos, we can say that there is indeed a violation of the provisions of international treaties in the field of protecting human rights on the part of Poland", Lukyantsev said.

The official voiced regret about the absence of a dialogue between the European Union and Belarus, emphasising that it is impossible to solve the crisis without any direct contact. Given the lack of communication it is difficult to predict how the situation will evolve, Grigory Lukyantsev said.

Worsening of Relations and Border Crisis

Relations between Brussels and Minsk soured drastically last summer following presidential elections in Belarus, which were won by Alexander Lukashenko, who has been at the helm of the country since 1994. Before the vote was held, several candidates who wanted to participate in the election, had their candidacies rejected and then were imprisoned on various charges. They claim the cases against them were politically motivated.
The results of the vote were dismissed by the opposition and sparked massive long-term protests in the country. Police used force, including rubber bullets, to disperse demonstrations. Thousands are said to have been arrested and reports said law enforcement beat protesters in detention centres, a claim the government initially denied. Last month, Alexander Lukashenko admitted that the beatings took place.

"OK, OK, I admit it, I admit it", he said. "People were beaten in the Okrestina detention centre. But there were police beaten up too and you didn't show this", he said while speaking to the BBC.

Lukashenko claimed that the protests were orchestrated by the West, pointing the finger at Germany, Britain, Poland, the Czech Republic, and the United States. Lukashenko's victory has not officially been recognised by the European Union, Britain, Canada, and the United States.
Brussels went on to impose sanctions on Minsk and slapped the country with another round of restrictive measures after Belarus diverted a Ryanair flight en route from Greece to Poland, landing it in Minsk to arrest opposition journalist Roman Protasevich, whom Alexander Lukashenko accused of plotting a "bloody rebellion".
Tensions between the West and Minsk further escalated after migrants from the Middle East and North Africa stated arriving in Belarus this summer in order to cross into the European Union through the border between Belarus and Poland. Refugees also attempted to cross into Lithuania and Latvia, which too border Belarus.
Warsaw erected barbed wire fences and the Polish Border Guard used force (tear gas) when refugees attempted to force their way into the country.
The number of refugees on the border kept increasing over the summer and reached thousands. Tensions started escalating in autumn, which brought freezing temperatures and pushed migrants to attempt to cross into Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia again.
More than a dozen migrants have died on the border since the crisis began and thousands more are freezing in makeshift camps.
Officials from Poland and the European Union have accused Belarus of orchestrating the migrant crisis in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Belarus. They claimed that Minsk has been encouraging migrants to travel to Belarus promising them easy access to the European Union. The West also accused the Belarusian military of helping refugees to cross the border into the EU. Minsk has categorically denied the accusations and in turn accused Brussels of denying aid to refugees.
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