The Belarusian migrant crisis could be the prelude to a wider aggression by Russia, the Polish prime minister warned.
But EU solidarity does not mean a pass for Poland to continue its own attack on the rule of law.
“I think that the things unfolding before our eyes, these dramatic events, are perhaps only a prelude to something much worse,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in Vilnius on Sunday (November 21st).
Russian troops had massed on the eastern border of Ukraine and in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad in the Baltic region, creating “an instrument which could be used directly for direct attack,” he said. warned.
The collapse of Afghanistan could also be “used as the next step in the migration crisis” by Russia, he said.
“Any discussion with Belarus must be coordinated with the front-line countries – Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – to avoid partial solutions that will not lead to substantial improvements,” Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė also said. .
She spoke after German Chancellor Angela Merkel phoned Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko twice last week, ruffling feathers in Eastern Europe.
The European Commission and EU foreign service officials were also in contact with Minsk for “technical talks” on the crisis, imonytė noted, amid rumors of a planned meeting in Vienna.
The number of irregular crossing attempts to Poland declined over the weekend, but groups of 100 to 200 at a time were still trying to break through in isolated incidents, the Polish border guard said.
“The foreigners were aggressive – they threw stones, firecrackers and used tear gas,” he said on Saturday.
“No, this political crisis is not coming to an end. Belarus is still interested in escalating and continuing operations against Poland,” said Stanisław Żaryn, spokesman for the Polish security services.
“We remain vigilant and ready to further assist our allies,” noted NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, with at least 100 British military engineers and 100 Estonian soldiers heading to the Polish border.
For his part, Lukashenko admitted that his armed forces had assisted migrants to come in an interview with the BBC.
“They don’t come to my country, they go to yours,” he said.
“We will slaughter all the scum that the West has funded,” he also said, referring to his crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Belarus.
And senior Ukrainian defense official Kyrylo Budanov backed Morawiecki’s terrible warning.
“Russia is preparing … an attack [on Ukraine] late January or early February next year, “he told Military Times magazine on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Morawiecki also visited Riga and Tallinn over the weekend, as part of tour plans to other EU capitals, including Berlin, this week.
Letters from the EU
But the EU’s solidarity with migrants did not mean that the institutions had eased the pressure on Poland following the ruling party’s dismantling of law and justice from independent courts in recent years.
The European Commission sent letters to Warsaw and Budapest on Friday saying tens of billions of euros in EU funding in the next budget cycle could be frozen unless they hit the line.
The situation in Poland “endangers the application of primary and secondary Union law relating to the protection of the financial interests of the European Union,” said the EU letter to Warsaw, according to Reuters, while giving Poland two months to respond to concerns. .
“The deficiencies and weaknesses identified may (…) present a serious risk that the sound financial management of the Union budget or the protection of the Union’s financial interests will continue to be affected in the future”, also indicates the letter to Hungary.
Both countries have already seen funds frozen as part of a separate process linked to the EU’s post-pandemic stimulus fund.
Some Polish regions have also lost EU money after signing anti-LGBTI declarations.
“Welcome to emerging markets,” US investment bank JP Morgan wrote in a report to investors last week, referring to growing instability in central and eastern Europe.
Government bond yields collapsed in Hungary, Poland and Ukraine, while currency volatility and inflation rose, financial analysts noted.
“It is difficult to dissolve geopolitical tensions from the macroeconomic context … we are likely to have difficult times in the region,” Lyubka Dushanova of US consultancy State Street Global Advisors told Reuters.