Belarus, Russia’s edge against EU: they don’t care what happens ...

World

Belarus, Russia’s edge against EU: they don’t care what happens to migrants

Putin and Lukashenko would not hesitate to escalate the humanitarian crisis at the Polish border

Andreas Kluth

Is there any way the stand-off at the border between the EU and Belarus can still end well? Put differently, how bad could it get? Unfortunately, the answer is: really bad. The scenarios include the death of the migrants, and even a wider war.

A recap: the crisis was manufactured by a cynical dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus. Last year he rigged an election, then cracked down brutally on his domestic opposition. So the EU, which already had sanctions against his regime, added more. In retaliation, if that is the word, Lukashenko decided to use innocent human beings from other countries as hostages to blackmail the EU.

He organised a vast human trafficking network throughout the Middle East and a disinformation campaign spreading the lie that migrants can get to Europe, and in particular Germany, by flying to the Belarusian capital Minsk and then crossing into Poland, Latvia or Lithuania and trekking west. To support this scheme, Lukashenko’s cronies enlisted travel agents, airlines, smugglers and mules, from the Kurdish parts of Iraq to Yemen and Afghanistan...

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