Imagine a country using thousands of poor, helpless people as weapons
against another country.
Something similar is happening in Europe nowadays.
On the border between Poland and Belarus.
Belarus's dictator invited thousands of refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq
and dumped them in the forest near Poland's border.
Gave them wirecutters and told them
that if they want to survive, they'd have to cut the wires of the border
and go into Poland on its other side.
Or else, they'll freeze to death in the forest.
"The EU members have each declared
the State of Emergency
along their border."
"Belarus is waging a hybrid war
using migrants as a weapon."
"If - if - if the Belarusians could send me back to my country,
fine, better I die in my country."
These people are stuck in a political game they can't control.
Friends, Belarus is a country
that used to be a part of the Soviet Union once.
It got independence in 1991
after which it came to be known as
the Republic of Belarus.
On the map, you can see that it is a land-locked country.
Lithuania and Latvia in the North.
Russia in the East,
Ukraine in the South
and Poland in the West.
It is important to note that
Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania are in the European Union.
And the other European Union countries,
like Germany, France, and all the western European Union countries,
Belarus does not share any border with them.
There's no border control.
But Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus are not parts of the European Union.
Some months ago, groups of thousands of refugees
were getting out of war-torn countries.
Like people from Afghanistan escaping the Taliban.
Or leaving Syria because of the civil war.
Or from countries like Congo where the situation is horrible.
All of them started coming into Minsk.
Minsk is the capital of Belarus.
Allegedly, they were then transported to the borders of the European Union,
Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia,
via taxis, buses, or other vehicles,
and often, human smugglers helped them
to cross the border illegally.
A few weeks later, it was also reported
that online advertisements on social media were being used
by some people
to claim that the route of Belarus had opened up.
That is a safe route for the refugees and the migrants
they could come to Belarus and use the route to get into the European Union.
When countries like Poland saw it happening,
they increased the security at the border
and called in reinforcements
They started strictly checking the area
to prevent such smuggling.
More barbed wires were installed at the border.
At this point in time, it was very clear
that the Belarusian government
was actively encouraging these people, these refugees
to flee into the European Union.
When it became difficult to do so via cars, buses, and taxis,
then the Belarusian government, literally,
dumped these refugees into the forest nearby.
And gave them wirecutters.
To cut the barbed wires on the border
and cross the border.
But the question arises, why did Belarus do so?
It's not difficult to get to the answer.
One needs to simply look at Belarusian politics.
Friends, since 1994,
Belarus has the same President.
He is in his 6th term as the President.
Recently, in August 2020,
presidential elections were held in Belarus.
The President won the election.
But this election, and every election since 1994,
were all deemed to be unfair
because of election fraud.
It means that the current President of Belarus,
is a dictator.
Infamously, known as the Last Dictator of Europe.
But because nearly all the countries surrounding Belarus are democracies,
the citizens of Belarus are agitated.
They want to bring down the dictator.
Recently, there were protests by thousands of people.
But the police arrested thousands.
And jailed the protestors.
And most of the opposition leaders are either in jails
or have fled the country.
Seeing this happen,
in response, the European Union and the USA,
declared economic sanctions against the Lukashenko government.
These sanctions weren't very significant.
Until May 2021.
When a shocking incident took place.
As per the European standards.
What happened was that a flight from Greece was flying to Lithuania
in this flight, was Raman Pratasyevich,
a Belarusian blogger and political activist.
He had written against the Belarusian government often.
When the flight flew over Belarus,
the Belarusian authorities diverted that flight
and made it land in Minsk.
So that the blogger could be arrested.
The flight flying between two foreign countries was diverted
and forcing it to land in their country
is no less than a hijacking.
It can be considered a terrorist act.
The European Union called it Air Piracy,
and after this incident,
banned Belarus's airline from all the European Union airports.
In fact, banning it from even the European Union airspaces.
Additionally, the top commodities exported by Belarus to the European Union
like petroleum products, potash (a fertilizer)
were also banned.
The European Investment Bank stopped funding the projects in Belarus.
Several smaller steps were also taken along with these.
That led to Belarus being economically isolated.
This caused a huge shock to the Belarusian economy.
In 2020, about 50% of Belarus' total petroleum products exports
were exported to the European Union and the UK.
Now it has come to a complete halt.
And as I said, Belarus is a landlocked country,
if it had access to the sea,
it could have continued exporting to the other countries easily.
But being banned from the air space as well.
And stopping exports like this,
caused Belarus' economy to come to a standstill.
In this situation, Belarus' dictator wondered what could be done
to take revenge from the European Union.
What is the European Union's weak point?
There was a refugee crisis in 2015
when refugees came to Europe in large numbers
and it became quite difficult for the European countries to deal with it.
Belarus latched on to this weak point.
This is the reason why Belarus openly encouraged refugees
to come into their country
and then dumped them at the border.
The forest area around the border
has temperatures around -5°C to -7°C nowadays.
The Belarusian government did nothing to help these refugees.
Neither did they feed them nor gave them any shelter.
They just left them in the freezing cold.
And obviously, what other outcome could this situation have?
Some people died because of the cold.
Around 10 people have lost their lives.
In this cold, while waiting at the border.
Some people could see only one way to survive.
To fight with the border police
and to cross the border at any cost.
And so we got to see such scenes.
"They're playing us like a football.
Belarus would beat us,
push us on Poland,
Poland will catch us.
Beat us, push us back to Belarus."
"They tell us, 'this way, there is no Polish police.'
So they would tell us, 'you must cross those wires.'"
Some helpless people left their conflict-ridden countries to save their lives
and are now trapped here.
Between the conflict of two countries.
Lukashenko claims that the European Union is violating human rights here,
by not permitting the entry of these people.
That it violates the International Rules of Asylum.
On the other hand, in the United Nations Security Council,
several countries claim that it is a type of hybrid warfare
that's being used against Europe.
But Belarus doesn't intend to stop here.
Belarus's dictator has issued the next threat.
That they would switch off the gas pipelines.
Actually, a large portion of the gas being used in Europe,
comes from Russia.
And that gas is transferred from Russia to Europe through pipelines.
And these pipelines go through Belarus.
And now, Belarus is threatening to break these pipelines or to turn them off
so that the gas can't be supplied.
It would have a large economic impact on Europe.
Because the gas prices in Europe are already at a high
due to multiple other reasons.
In this entire situation,
Poland has blamed Russia as well.
Because while the European Union is trying to economically isolate Belarus,
Russia has become Belarus's biggest and the most important
political and economic partner.
Although Russia denies playing any role in the issue.
But the Kremlin spokesperson
has challenged the European Union
to provide financial assistance to Belarus
so that it could deal with the situation.
What can happen in the situation next?
One, Europe may withdraw its economic sanctions.
So that Belarus stops responding like this.
And this situation could be resolved.
But doing so would mean
indirectly supporting the dictatorship in Belarus.
On the other hand, there's also the option to
strengthen the economic sanctions imposed by Europe.
The European Commission is now discussing
blacklisting the airlines carrying flights
from the refugee hotspot countries to Belarus
blacklisting those airlines from Europe.
What's your opinion?
What do you think can be done to deal with this situation?
Comment below to let me know.
I hope you found the post informative as always.
Thank you very much!