Sunday, November 28

The EU and NATO redouble pressure on Lukashenko amid escalating tension on Belarus’ border with Poland

Thousands of refugees from the Middle East are being pushed to the Polish border by the Belarusian regime. Faced with escalating tension, the European Union and NATO are beginning to make decisions to try to defuse the “hybrid attacks” of the Alexander Lukashenko government.

Thus, the 27 have decided this Tuesday to tighten the conditions for visas to leaders of the Belarusian regime and the Atlantic Alliance describes the “hybrid attack” from Minsk as “unacceptable”. “The suspension covers the provisions that exempt the production of documentary evidence, regulate the issuance of visas for multiple entries and reduce the visa processing fees that apply to officials of the Belarusian regime,” states the Council of the EU: ” The decision will not affect ordinary Belarusian citizens, who will continue to enjoy the same benefits that they had until now under the agreement on facilitating the issuance of visas. ”

According to the 27, “the political disturbances that took place in Belarus and the restrictive measures adopted by the EU, Belarus began last June to organize flights and trips to facilitate the transit of migrants to the EU, first to Lithuania and later to Latvia and Poland. These actions violate the fundamental principles according to which the agreement on the facilitation of the issuance of visas was concluded and are against the interests of the EU. ”

Russia, Lukashenko’s main international supporter, however, argues that the root of the problem is the policy that the NATO countries and the European Union have practiced in relation to the Middle East and North Africa, and the attempt to impose their own interpretation of democratic values.

“We cannot forget where it all started and whose fault is what is happening now. Therefore, the main responsibility for the settlement of the migration crisis now resides with those who created the conditions for the emergence of this problem,” he said. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, reports Efe.

Thus, the presidents of Russia and Belarus, Vladimir Putin and Alexandr Lukashenko, spoke on Tuesday about the crisis, as reported by the Kremlin: “The presidents (…) exchanged opinions on the situation with the refugees on the Belarusian borders- Polish and Belarusian-Lithuanian “.

A column of several thousand immigrants, mostly Kurds from Syria and Iraq, made their way down a highway Monday morning to a border post with Poland in the Grodno region.

The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, for his part, has described the “hybrid attack” from Minsk as “unacceptable”, and has expressed solidarity with the Polish government, with whose president, Adrzej Duda, spoke on Tuesday.

Poland, the EU and the US have called on the Belarusian president “to immediately cease the political use of irregular migration as a political weapon”, and accuse Lukashenko of provoking the migration crisis in retaliation for his support of the Belarusian opposition in exile, It has alerted the European Union of a “humanitarian catastrophe” due to the concentration of immigrants before the arrival of winter.

“Belarus must stop endangering people’s lives,” said the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen: “The instrumentalization of migrants for political purposes by Belarus is unacceptable. The Belarusian authorities must understand that pressuring the European Union in this way through the cynical instrumentalization of migrants will not help them achieve their goals. ”

Von der Leyen explained that he has spoken with the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, the Lithuanian Prime Minister, Ingrida Šimonytė, and the Latvian Prime Minister, Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš, “to express the solidarity of the EU and discuss with them the measures that the EU can take to support them in their efforts to deal with this crisis. ”

Next, the president of the Community Executive has asked the Member States to “finally approve the sanctions regime extended to the Belarusian authorities responsible for this hybrid attack.” In addition, Vice President Margaritis Schinas, in coordination with the High Representative, Josep Borrell, “will travel in the coming days to the main countries of origin and transit to ensure that they act to prevent their own nationals from falling into the trap set by the Belarusian authorities “. And he added: “The EU will study how to sanction, including through blacklisting, airlines from third countries that actively participate in human trafficking.”

Finally, “the European Commission will explore with the UN and its specialized agencies how to prevent a human crisis from developing and ensure that migrants can be safely returned to their country of origin, with the support of their national authorities.”

The president of the Socialists in the European Parliament, Iratxe García, has also expressed her condemnation for the “use of people seeking asylum”, who are “victims”.

The President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, has also called on the Polish authorities to “offer help to vulnerable people to prevent further escalation.”

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