Belarus and Russia Could Take Advantage of Afghanistan to Further Border Crisis: Polish PM

By Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska
Reporter
Ella Kietlinska is a New York-based reporter for The Epoch Times.
November 22, 2021 Updated: November 23, 2021

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Sunday warned against more possible illegal immigrant pressures on the European Union’s border with Belarus, this time coming from Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

Morawiecki said during a visit to Vilnius, Lithuania, he was receiving information that the difficult situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the country in August “may be used as the next stage of the migration crisis.”

“We know of diplomatic and official contacts of Belarus and Russia with Uzbekistan and Afghanistan and … there probably will be an attempt to use the crisis in Afghanistan as the next stage of the migration crisis,” Morawiecki said at a press conference following his talks with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė.

“And the migration crisis is just one part of the great political crisis in which Lukashenko with his real principal—and I think nobody has doubts that this is President Putin—will continue such actions, ” Morawiecki said.

“I think that the things that unfold before our eyes, these dramatic events, may only be a prelude to something much worse,” he added.

He also expressed Poland’s support for Lithuania in “all its endeavors, including this one.”

Morawiecki was on a one-day tour of meetings on Sunday with the prime ministers of European Union members Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, which have also been hit by immigrants trying to cross their borders illegally. The purpose of the meetings was to discuss ways to solve the illegal immigration crisis affecting EU members whose countries border with Belarus.

“For us, it is very important that any talks (with Belarus) are coordinated with Lithuania, Poland, and Latvia, which are at the forefront of the hybrid attack, and no decisions are taken which do not solve the situation fundamentally,” Šimonytė told reporters at the press conference.

“Although we see some positive signs in the return of migrants to their countries of origin, the attack organized by the Minsk regime is, unfortunately, still continuing. Therefore, it is especially important to further increase the pressure and sanctions on Minsk until the situation changes substantially,” the Lithuanian PM said, according to a statement.

Latvia

Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš said after the meeting with Morawiecki: “The European Union is experiencing a coordinated hybrid attack by the Belarusian regime, which exploits third-country nationals and tries to get them into the EU through illegal border crossings at the borders of Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.”

“We have a unified and well-established position—we will not allow the Belarusian regime to get the third-country nationals illegally into the European Union,” Kariņš said, according to a statement.

Kariņš announced that Latvia intends to send a group of border guards and police officers to Poland.

The Latvian PM proposed that the United Nations needs to get involved in organizing the repatriation of third-country nationals in the territory of Belarus to their countries of origin.

Both Morawiecki and Kariņš agreed that “the situation on the Ukraine–Russia border and on the EU’s external borders should be seen as a whole picture.”

Estonia

Although Estonia does not have a border on Belarus, the country is concerned about the possible illegal crossing over its Russian border and plans to build a razor-wire fence to prevent it.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said in a statement after meeting with her Polish counterpart that the hybrid attack on the Belarusian–EU border was showing no signs of stopping.

“We are predicting that the pressure toward the external border of the EU and NATO by Alexander Lukashenko will continue because the Belarusian regime has so far failed to achieve its objectives,” Kallas said.

“Maintaining the standoff for as long as possible is in the interests of the Belarusian regime since it takes the focus away from the brutal repressions and human rights violations it continues to inflict on its own people.”

To resolve the border crisis, Kallas proposed “rapid enforcement of sanctions” on Belarus.

Her country will also focus on applying diplomatic pressure to suspend flights from countries of origin and transit. According to Kallas, Estonia has already achieved diplomatic success in this endeavor and as a result, many such flights have stopped.

Therefore, she said the focus should be on repatriating immigrants, and called on Belarus to allow U.N. organizations full access to its territory to provide humanitarian aid to immigrants.

“People fraudulently lured to Minsk are legally in Belarus and have been issued Belarusian visas. They must be guaranteed security on the territory of Belarus, and Belarus must allow them to return to their home countries.”

Border Breaching Continues

Poland accused Belarus of continuing to ferry immigrants to its border, despite border guards clearing camps close to the frontier earlier last week and starting to repatriate some people to Iraq.

Poland’s Border Guard said Sunday it prevented a forceful illegal entry by a group of 100 people in Czeremcha, brought to the fenced border by Belarus forces, according to Polish Radio 24. Immigrants attacked Polish officers with stones and pieces of trees, the report said.

Another group of about 150 aggressive foreigners “supervised by the Belarusian forces” tried to break into Polish territory in Dubicze Cerkiewne on Sunday, according to a statement by Polish Border Guard.

The immigrants tried to force their way over the border by throwing a platform made of planks over the fence, but those who managed to cross into Poland were arrested and escorted back to the border, the statement said.

Poland’s Border Guard says it has registered over 34,000 attempts at illegally crossing into Poland this year, including over 17,000 in October and over 6,000 in November so far. Germany has registered a few thousand who have reached its territory from Belarus.

Neighboring Lithuania said 44 migrants were prevented from entering on Saturday, the lowest number in a week.

The European Union accuses Belarus of flying in thousands of people from the Middle East and pushing them to cross into Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia, in response to European sanctions. Minsk repeatedly denied the accusation.

Lorenz Duchamps, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska is a New York-based reporter for The Epoch Times.