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Middle East migrants lured into thinking Belarus would provide a gateway to Europe

The last few days we come to see how people are brought into terrible circumstances. On VTM last night we also saw how the Flemish reporter was halted by the Polish police, brought away from the border and heard how he and his crew got fined. Strange such a silencing of the press happening in our own European Union.

On several television channels, we can see how thousands of people, many of them Kurds arriving from the Middle East, several with babies and toddlers, are camping at the border of Belarus with Poland, enduring freezing conditions in the hope of crossing into the EU. We also saw pictures from queuing immigrants in long lines, thinking they shall be able to enter Europe by going to Belarus with their passport and payment of €1500 to Belarus. The migrants are mainly young men, women and children, who have grand dreams to find a better life in Europe, though they end up in the small borderline chased by the Belarusian soldiers and hold back by the Polish soldiers. The desperate migrants are daily attempting to breach the border  —  using shovels and logs against the barbed-wire fences. When it is going to take some more days this situation and confrontation of the different parties involved, could easily escalate to violence. It is already a serious humanitarian predicament.

Following an agreement with the Polish government to explore how the British can provide engineering support to address the ongoing situation at the Belarus border, Britain has sent a team of about 10 soldiers to Poland to help Warsaw strengthen its border with Belarus.

Several times already crowds have tried to cut through the barbed wire fence to enter Poland this week – only to be pushed back by Polish border guards and the army. However, some migrants have managed to slip through.

At the other side of the border, the waiting people keep cutting trees to warm themselves. their numbers seem to grow day by day, whilst there seems to come no solution. Yesterday for the first time there was a chaotic distribution of some white bread by the Belarusians.

Overnight temperatures have fallen to freezing and at least seven people have died in recent weeks, many from hypothermia.

At Thursday’s emergency UN Security Council meeting, Western member states issued a joint statement, accusing Belarus of putting migrants’ lives in danger “for political purposes”. They also said Belarus was trying to divert

“attention away from its own increasing human rights violations”.

The statement was issued by France, the UK and the US, all permanent Council members. They were joined by Albania, Estonia and the Republic of Ireland.

Russia, also a permanent Council member, rejected the accusations and blamed Poland and neighbouring Lithuania for mistreating migrants. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council all have the right to veto resolutions.

“There are a lot of cases when Polish and Lithuanian border guards beat migrants and pushed them back to Belarusian territory,”

said the Russian deputy ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy.

When we see how aggressive the Polish police and border guards are standing at the border wires, this should not surprise us, certainly because they do not want to allow the press to check the situation. This should also be a warning sign for European MP’s to examine the situation very carefully.

“I would say that this is total shame and a total violation of any possible international conventions and rules.”

added Dmitry Polyanskiy.

When we hear the language of Belarus’s leader Alexander Lukashenko it is clear how he wants to press the EU in an awkward situation and is creating this border crisis by luring migrants in retaliation for sanctions imposed over his brutal crackdown of protesters and critics.
Belarusians took to the streets last year after he claimed a widely discredited election victory. And the leader cannot bear the thought of Europe interfering in his country’s internal affairs. At the same time, he wants to be on good terms with his Russian ally.

Yesterday we could see him triumphantly sitting at the head of the table, proclaiming

“We are heating Europe, and they are threatening us,”

referring to a Russian gas pipeline that runs through Belarus and into the EU.

“And what if we halt natural gas supplies? Therefore, I would recommend the leadership of Poland, Lithuanians and other empty-headed people to think before speaking.”

His comments raised fresh fears amid worsening natural gas shortages and rising prices in Europe.

The EU’s economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said the 27-member bloc “should not be intimidated”. Exiled Belarusian human rights activist and opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya accused the president of “bluffing” over his gas ultimatum.

Though Mr Lukashenko has repeatedly denied Belarus is sending migrants to its borders with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in revenge for existing EU sanctions, there is already enough proof that he is organising this human trafficking.

We can only look forward that this time Europe is going to act in the interest of all those poor people at the border. A new round of EU measures could be introduced as early as Monday, which will be in a certain way already too late. Possible measures to be taken should include stopping international airlines carrying migrants from landing at the airport in the Belarusian capital Minsk.

Iraq brings as an excuse that it is only organising ‘repatriation flights’ for Iraqi nationals from Belarus and that the passengers it is carrying to Belarus all have an official travel passport.

Turkey’s national carrier Turkish Airlines has said it will be restricting the sale of tickets on some routes for citizens of Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

The EU is also reportedly considering sanctions against the Russian state airline Aeroflot for transporting migrants to Belarus, an allegation Aeroflot denies.

Though EU ministers want us to believe Poland has been accused of pushing people back across the border into Belarus, contrary to international rules of asylum, we do not see measures being taken against Poland and no solutions being presented to bring those refugees in safety in the European Union.

A European Commission spokesperson said, accurately:

“This is part of the inhuman and really gangster-style approach of the Lukashenko regime that he is lying to people, he is misusing people . . . and bringing them to Belarus under the false promise of having easy entry into the E.U.”



Poland is refusing to allow the migrants to cross, accusing Minsk of luring them to Belarus to send across the border in revenge for sanctions.

Published by Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".

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