PARIS — Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki described the migrant crisis at the border with Belarus as the greatest threat to the EU for three decades.
He tweeted Sunday that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko “launched a hybrid war against the EU. This is greatest attempt to destabilize Europe in 30 years.”
European countries accuse Lukashenko of weaponizing migrant flows in an attempt to put pressure on the EU. Relations with Minsk have been strained since the disputed Belarus presidential election in August 2020. The EU imposed several sanction packages on Minsk following the repression of post-election protests, the hijacking of a European airliner in May 2021, and the facilitation of migrant flows to the border with Poland.
In an interview with the BBC, Lukashenko did not deny that his forces were helping migrants reach the Polish border.
“Our guys are helping the migrants get into Polish territory? It’s perfectly possible. I think that’s absolutely possible,” Lukashenko said.
Morawiecki is on a European tour to drum up support for Poland not only to stop migrants from crossing the border but also for other parts of the hybrid war he says is being waged against Europe, including Belarusian threats to disrupt gas supplies to Europe. He kicked it off Sunday with a meeting in Tallinn with his Estonian counterpart Kaja Kallas.
“We see no signs of improvement regarding hybrid attack at #EU border. With coherent actions and messages, we stand for European security — sanctions must enter into force and diplomatic pressure will continue,” Kallas tweeted after a joint presser with Morawiecki.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, the Polish prime minister said he was traveling to Lithuania and Latvia on Sunday to meet with his counterparts and discuss the border situation. He also plans to visit other European capitals in the coming weeks.
After Morawiecki’s trip to Lithuania, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė said: ”We express our solidarity with Poland that is currently experiencing the greatest load in withstanding Lukashenko’s hybrid attack on the EU.”
“Although we see some positive signs in the return of migrants to their countries of origin, the attack organized by the Minsk regime is, unfortunately, still continuing. Therefore, it is especially important to further increase the pressure and sanctions on Minsk until the situation changes substantially,” Šimonytė said, according to her office.
Morawiecki also released a YouTube video on Sunday titled “#WeDefendEurope” in which he accuses Lukashenko, “with the backroom support of [Russian President] Vladimir Putin” of waging a hybrid war against the EU, and makes an impassioned plea for support.
“I want to assure you Poland will not yield to blackmail … Let us stand together, let us defend Europe,” Morawiecki said.