The migrant crisis on the Belarusian-Polish frontier continues to worsen with every passing hour. There have been hundreds of attempts by migrants to breach the border and all of them have been stopped by Polish troops. Some 15,000 Polish soldiers now deployed along the border. Their mission is simply to prevent any migrants from crossing illegally from Belarus into Poland. On the international front, the European Union and United States are accusing Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko of manufacturing this migrant crisis in response to sanctions laid upon Belarus by the EU. The Minsk government denies this is the case. Meanwhile, on Europe’s eastern frontier the crisis threatens to develop into the latest flashpoint between East and West.
Almost all the migrants now on the border are from the Middle East. Belarus has been allowing them to fly in for weeks and is now attempting to funnel them through to Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, all member-states of both the EU and NATO. The EU and Poland has set aside its differences for the moment and is focused on bringing an end to the crisis. The EU is expected to bring a new round of sanctions into play against Belarus sometime in the coming days. Poland, for its part, has publicly laid blame for the crisis on Russia, relegating the Belarusian role in this ongoing drama to that of a vassal state.
The potential for escalation is certainly present. Adding to the tension is the fact that Russia is again massing troops and military equipment on its border with Ukraine.