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Why Poland states Russia and Belarus are weaponizing migration to benefit Europe’s reactionary

Why Poland says Russia and Belarus are weaponizing migration to benefit Europe’s far-right

POLAND-BELARUS BORDER, Poland (AP) — A Somali lady presses her bandaged hand in between 2 vertical bars of a thick metal barrier separating Belarus from Poland as she and 4 other females look towards the European Union.

They nod gratefully as a Polish humanitarian help employee contacts us to them throughout a stretch of land as broad as a one-lane roadway and assures to assist. Polish soldiers patrol close by.

The verdant spot of Bialowieza Forest that covers the border is amongst the flashpoints of a monthslong standoff in between Belarus and its primary backer and ally Russia, and the 27-member European bloc, which has actually seen a rise in migrant circulations towards the frontier ahead of EU parliamentary elections that begin on Thursday.


The variety of tried prohibited border crossings from Belarus into EU-member Poland has actually soared in current months to nearly 400 a day — from just a handful a day previously this year, Polish authorities state.

Poland’s border guards have actually likewise decried significantly aggressive habits by some migrants on the Belarus side of the border. They have actually published online videos of some tossing rocks, logs and even burning wood at the Polish soldiers from behind the fence.

There have actually been cases of soldiers and guards being hospitalized and some require stitches after being stabbed or cut by knife-wielding attackers. Last Tuesday near the town of Dubicze Cerkiewne, authorities stated a migrant reached in between the bars of the more than 5-meter (16-foot) -high barrier and stabbed a soldier in the ribs.

For the previous couple of years, EU authorities have actually implicated authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of weaponizing migration by tempting individuals to his nation to discover a much easier entry point into the bloc than the more hazardous paths throughout the Mediterranean Sea.

Still, migrants have actually passed away, with some buried in Muslim and Christian cemeteries in Poland.


Poland sees the brand-new push at the border as a managed effort by Russia and Belarus to sustain anti-migrant belief, which might in turn increase reactionary celebrations in the European vote.

Poland and the EU state migrants — who have actually travelled to previous Soviet nations from as far as the Middle East and Africa — have actually ended up being pawns in an effort by Russia and Belarus to destabilize Europe, which has actually backed Ukraine in its defense versus Russia’s intrusion more than 2 years back.

The $405 million (374 million euro) metal barrier was installed along a 180-kilometer (110-mile) stretch of border under Poland’s previous conservative federal government in 2022, part of efforts to suppress big inflows of migrants that numerous in the EU wish to lower.

The barrier has actually been a gaining point for anti-immigrant celebrations that typically support or are supported by Russia.

Now the federal government of Polish entrist Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who took control of in December promising a brand-new pro-EU administration following 8 years of rainy conservative guideline, has actually pledged to step up security steps and states it should secure the EU border.

“We are not handling (simply) any asylum candidates here, we are handling a collaborated, really effective — on numerous levels — operation to break the Polish border and tries to destabilize the nation,” Tusk stated recently while going to border soldiers.


According to Poland, Moscow’s circumstance of supposedly looking for to flood the EU with a rise in migrants would supply political ammo for anti-migrant, reactionary celebrations in nations such as France, Germany and Italy.

Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski declared at a conference in Bialystok, eastern Poland, on Monday that a number of the migrants who attempt to break through the Polish border “are individuals with Russian visas” — indicating they were at some point enabled to go into Russia before heading to Belarus and towards the West.

“They were at least urged and perhaps even hired for this operation, so we understand who lags this operation,” he stated. “This is planned to have a political impact — to enhance the far right, which assures to ruin the European Union from the within.”

The Interior Ministry in surrounding Germany, the crucial location for numerous migrants, has actually pointed out an increasing pattern in unapproved migration associated to Russia and Belarus. It associated the increase in part to heightened action taken by Russian security authorities versus unapproved migrants following a fatal terrorist attack on a Moscow auditorium in March.

Critics have actually implicated President Vladimir Putin’s Russia of all sorts of impropriety versus the West recently, consisting of election meddling, disinformation and phony news project s, computer system hacking, and declared poisoning abroad of enemies of the Kremlin chief — all accusations that Moscow has actually rejected.

Sviatlana Tsikhnaouskaya, Belarusian opposition leader living in exile, informed The Associated Press that Lukashenko’s federal government is attempting “to blackmail the EU and frighten it with waves of unmanageable migrants.”

“In this, the interests of Lukashenko and Putin line up,” she stated.


Caught in the middle are the migrants themselves, consisting of numerous females and kids stuck in hostile marshes and forests along the border. In late Might on the Polish side of the border, volunteers were seen offering water to a tired Algerian male.

Help activists have actually slammed Tusk’s federal government for hard border policies. He has actually acknowledged that numerous soldiers feel conflicted in between the requirement to secure the border and compassion for humanitarian employees who wish to “assist others in distress.”

Migrants who do make it through can make an application for worldwide security within the EU, which is given in extraordinary cases. Some likewise get deported to their home nations.

Olga Cielemencka, an activist with Podlaskie Volunteer Humanitarian Emergency situation Service who guaranteed to assist to the Somali lady with the bandaged hand, stated her group is attempting to provide guidance and support to the migrants.

“However our capabilities to act are really minimal,” she stated. “There isn’t much that we can do.”


Associated Press authors Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin, Dasha Litvinova in Tallinn, Estonia, and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland, added to this report.


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