Belarus Now Forcing Migrants Over Border at Gunpoint in ‘Hybrid Warfare’ Bid to Destabilise EU

Polish (front) and Belarusian border guards (background) stand next to a group of migrants resting at a makeshift encampment on the border between Belarus and Poland in Usnarz Gorny, near Bialystok, northeast Poland, on August 20, 2021. - The fate of a group of 32 bedraggled migrants stranded at a …
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Belarus continues to weaponise migrants, forcing them over its frontiers with European Union member states at gunpoint in what is seen as a “hybrid warfare” attack by the client state against its democratic neighbours, reports claim.

While the latest wave of Belarus clashes with the European Union date back to its rigged election in 2020, and EU sanctions that followed the Belarusian government diverting an EU plane to kidnap a passenger, the situation on the EU’s borders is intensifying, with reports of forced migration at gunpoint.

In a new development to the months-long phenomenon of Belarus engineering a migrant crisis on its EU frontier, London’s The Times reports Belarusian “officers” were using “large guns” to force migrants into Poland and Lithuania, including firing those weapons.

A report of eyewitnesses from the paper states that: “[Allegedly forced migrants] said they could not resist the guards, who always carried large guns” and “Locals say migrants were given planks to help them cross the small Swislocz river. Belarusians fired shots into the air behind them to hurry them along.”

The European Union’s response to this artificial migrant crisis has predominantly been talking to this point, however member state Poland — which borders Belarus, and which historically lost significant territory to Belarus amid the shifting borders of Second World War-era Europe — has now said it will replace the 250-mile razorwire border fence with an eight-foot wall.

The report of gunfire being used to force migrants into Europe follows earlier developments in Belarus’s campaign against the European Union, which saw the nation flying migrants directly from Iraq to their own nation, before bussing them to the border and sending them over into the European Union.

London-based think tank Chatham House has characterised the actions by Russian-backed Belarus as “hybrid warfare”, in which the nation witnessed the enormous political and social destabilisation the continent suffered after the 2015 migrant crisis and is now deliberately engineering more of the same.

Chatham House notes a similar tactic was used to attack northern European nations by Russia in the last decade.

Turkey has also been criticised as a state weaponising migrants. With control of the southern borders of the European Union on one of the most important migrant routes to the continent from Asia and Africa, the Turkish government hasn’t been shy about using its ability to accelerate, slow, or stop of flow of people north to political advantage.

Turkey has enjoyed huge gifts of money from the European Union for slowing the flow of migrants into Greece, an EU member.

Chatham House said last week of the Belarus situation:

This weaponization of migration is a form of hybrid warfare with the aim of destabilizing EU and NATO eastern borders and stirring up tensions within member states as well as between allies… In creating the migrant crisis Belarus is becoming just another tool in Russia’s hybrid warfare against western liberal democracies, and it is unlikely this tactic is being used by Belarus without the approval of Moscow.

In a statement last week, Slovenia — which presently holds the EU’s rotating presidency — said Belarus’s actions were “unacceptable and amounts to a direct attack aimed at destabilising and pressurising the EU.”

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