Foreign Policy: Russia, Belarus using migrants as weapon against EU

The worst-case scenario has not yet started to be realized: thousands of refugees from Afghanistan might be transported to the borders of the European Union via Russia. The influential US magazine Foreign Policy published a think piece about the migration crisis at the Belarus-EU borders, where thousands of citizens of Asia and Africa are trying to illegally make it to EU member countries.

Photo: Podlaski OSG /

Tomasz Grzywaczewski, the author of the article, does not expose any new schemes of carrying migrants to the border, but makes mention of July’s report by Belsat TV journalists; it regarded the Belarusian secret services’ conducting an operation to transfer migrants from the Middle East via Belarus to Lithuania.

A short while ago, it was the Belarusian officials who were blamed for using migrants as weapon and waging a hybrid attack. Notably, Foreign Police stresses that both authoritarian regimes in Moscow and Minsk are aiding Iraqis and Afghans in order to sow chaos and domestic discord in Eastern European countries; in 2018, one of its interviewees, Polish analyst Witold Repetowicz, noted the possibility that migrants could be used as a weapon in Russia’s attack on Poland through the territory of Ukraine. It turned out, however, that the real threat came through Belarus, the author highlights.

“This is a joint provocation by Minsk and Moscow. Today, Lukashenka is completely dependent on Putin and, moreover, the Belarusian services do not have sufficient resources in the Middle East to carry out such an operation,” Foreign Policy quotes Grzegorz Kuczynski, director of the Warsaw Institute’s Eurasia Program.

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The expert also warns that a ‘real crisis’ will emerge if Kremlin decides to create a migration corridor through Russian territory to transfer thousands of refugees from Afghanistan.

“Lukashenka’s regime is repressing Belarusian people on a massive scale and will stop at nothing to destabilize Europe,” Belsat TV Director Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy told Foreign Policy.

Will the 2015 mass migration crisis be repeated? It depends on the reaction of the Baltic states, Poland to the current current situation, Tomasz Grzywaczewski believes. According to him, no one was prepared for such an aggressive scenario, and Poland and the Baltic states must now urgently introduce an effective system of protecting their borders and preparing for potential provocations that could result in victim fatalities.

“To date, Moscow and Minsk have already achieved some short-term goals on that front. For the purposes of the propaganda, Poland and the Baltic states have been presented in Russian and Belarusian media as violating human rights and being cruel and insensitive to people in distress. The migration issue has stirred political conflict and strongly divided public opinion in Lithuania, and in Poland it is likewise creating internal turmoil,” the article reads.

Europe must now confront the reality of hybrid attacks against the EU and NATO in the eastern borderlands; as authoritarian regimes seek to sow internal discord and chaos in Poland and the Baltics, their weapon of choice is helpless human beings, the author sums up.

Migrants on borders of EU: How Lukashenka taking revenge for Western sanctions, via