Brussels (Brussels Morning) Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zbigniew Rau, called for more sanctions against Belarus on Tuesday.
He accused the country of attempting to destabilise Poland politically with the “constant assault” by migrants at the border, DW reported.
“Obviously it’s not a migratory crisis, it’s a political crisis purposefully launched by [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko”, he said, asserting that the border crisis had been “orchestrated, encouraged and supervised by the Belarusian authorities.”
“You have to keep in mind that the migrants were first brought to Minsk by Belarusian authorities where they were instructed, some of them even trained, in how to behave at the border, how to cross it, certainly illegally, and how to deal with the police, border guards and so on”, he declared.
Rau went on to say that the migrant crisis had likely been orchestrated in cooperation with Belarus’ ally Russia, noting that “Lukashenko alone could not afford to do it on his own” conceptually, logistically and politically.
The big picture
Stressing the need to take a step back and to observe the broader context, he pointed out how Russian forces are building up near Ukraine and how natural gas prices in Europe are soaring, all at least partly due to moves by Moscow.
Rau warned that Russia is taking advantage of the situation “as leverage in order to break European solidarity and unity.”
Commenting on the military build-up near Ukraine, Rau stressed that “we have to acknowledge the right of Ukrainians to defend themselves”, stating that “we will support them the way they ask for.”
Rau claimed it was not enough that the EU had recently approved more sanctions against Belarus aimed at those suspected of orchestrating the migrant crisis. It was time that th4e EU arrived at a consensus on how to proceed, he said.
“If the situation unfolds in this direction that we are facing right now, certainly there’s no alternative to more sanctions”, he warned. Sanctions should be imposed on “all those responsible for bringing these poor deceived people from the Middle East to Belarus” as well as on the economic entities involved, he observed.