An expert explains why Poland was chosen over Lithuania for the migrant storm

Migrant storm: Illegal migrants form Belarus - Polish border

The large group of migrants currently being monitored in Belarus, near the Polish border, trying to break into the country is a new phase of the hybrid attack. It is primarily an attempt of this migrant storm is to play on emotions in order to put pressure on the country, explained political analyst Marius Laurinavičius, reported.

“The mere fact that armed Belarusian officers accompany the incoming migrants on the road is a show for television. It is, of course, designed to scare both the Polish and Lithuanian people that something is going to happen here, that war is about to break out and I have already heard such statements. This is definitely not the start of a war,” the analyst said on the Lietuvos rytas TV programme Nauja Diena.

According to him, there will first be pressure on the Polish government to somehow resolve this migrant storm.

“At least a thousand migrants are concentrated at the border, probably more. They will be freezing there, starving, everything else – this is the usual way of a hybrid attack, trying to emotionally influence the TV audience and thus put pressure a country,” said Laurinavičius.

When asked why this attack started at the Polish-Belarusian border and not at the Lithuanian-Belarusian border, and why now, Laurinavičius emphasised the European Union (EU) factor.

“Regardless of what is being said here in Lithuania, the current government has so far passed this hybrid attack with flying colours exam with flying colours because it had two main objectives,” the analyst said.

The first objective, according to him, was to stop the hybrid attack physically, which is currently being done by pushing back migrants, and the second was to avoid a row with the European Union over these actions.

“From the very beginning, even before the push back policy was launched, Lithuania agreed with the EU on all of its actions and obtained the EU’s approval. We can thus conclude that Lithuania has yet to receive any rebuke from the EU.

While pursuing essentially the same policy, Poland is enacting some nuances differently, which is also a consequence of Poland’s policy towards the EU. To put it in layman’s terms, it could be said that Poland constantly wants to demonstrate that “the EU will not tell us what to do.” (…)

Russia is exploiting this in the context of this crisis. Since it is easier to create a conflict between Poland and the EU, Poland is chosen as the target,” the analyst argued.

“And why now? First of all, it’s a natural progression from one stage to another. The second thing is that Belarus is facing a rather serious problem of its own, as there are far too many illegal migrants in its territory. So, in some way, they are trying to tackle the crisis,” he added.

According to Laurinavičius, it is fairly difficult to judge how much longer Russia is determined to escalate the crisis of illegal migrants using Belarus, as the information coming from Belarus is very contradictory.

“On the one hand, there are reports of consulates being closed, of visas not being issued at airports, which would seem to indicate that the Belarusian authorities have decided to at least restrict this flow of immigrants.

On the other hand, the increase in the number of air flights shows the opposite trend,” he noted.

Polish officials said on Monday that a large migrant crowd had gathered at the Belarusian border, intending to make a “massive” breakthrough into Poland.

The Polish Interior Ministry said that Polish forces prevented an attempt by migrants to break into the country from Belarus on Monday but warned that the situation remains tense.

Video footage released by Belarusian media shows people trying to break through a fence with broken trees. A video released by the Polish Ministry of the Interior and Administration shows migrants attempting to break through the razor wire fence and cut it with metal scissors, as well as throwing objects at Polish soldiers by the fence.

For its part, the Belarusian State Border Guard Committee reported via the Telegram messaging app that the situation on the Belarusian-Polish border remains extremely tense, with over 2 000 people at the barrier, taking part in this migrant storm.

At the same time, the Ministry of the Interior proposed introducing a state of emergency in Lithuania due to the high concentration of migrants at the Belarus-Poland border and the threat to Lithuania.
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