Members of the media may directly contact the following expert:
Ivan Katchanovski (English, Ukrainian, Russian)
Part-time Professor, Political Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences
“The current migrant crisis on the Belarus-Poland border is an escalation of the crisis between the European Union, in particular Poland, and Belarus. The Lukashenko government uses migrants from Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries to retaliate for the EU, especially Poland’s, support of the Belarusian opposition and for the sanctions that followed the falsification of the last presidential elections and a forced landing of a passenger plane in Belarus.
This migrant crisis on the Belarus-Poland border is important because it involves Poland, which is a member of the EU, and Belarus, which is allied with Russia. There is a danger of the escalation and widening of this conflict. Belarus and Poland also have long borders with Ukraine, and a war in Donbas and a conflict with Russia are escalating. New EU sanctions won’t resolve the migrant crisis because such sanctions were proven to be ineffective after the last presidential elections in Belarus and after the diversion of the passenger plane by Belarus and because Belarus relies on economic, financial, political, and military support from Russia.
The statement by the Polish prime minister that this migrant crisis is terrorism is incorrect, and it is aimed in boosting popular support in Poland since the current migrant crisis does not meet a common definition of terrorism. In spite of a threat by Lukashenko to shut down a transit gas pipeline, this is unlikely because it would affect not only the EU but also Russia which owns this pipeline and supplies the gas. The migrant crisis is also a major humanitarian crisis, and therefore involvement of the UN and other international organizations is needed.”