The BBC’s Moscow correspondent has raised concerns that any military “miscalculation” between Nato and Russia over Poland or Ukraine could spark a deadly conflict. Steve Rosenburg argued that neither Vladimir Putin nor Nato are eager for an all-out war. But he went on to warn that amid escalating tensions and hostile rhetoric mistakes could lead to a wider conflict in Europe.
Mr Rosenburg told the Today Programme: “It’s unclear what is happening, certainly, the US administration believes it has information that is worrying and that suggests to them that there could be some plan of Russian military military activity.
“The Russians deny that completely, and of course, you’ve mentioned the possibility of the danger of a conflict breaking out here over that the situation with Belarus and the EU.
“We shouldn’t exaggerate the dangers, I think, we have seen images of Russian and Belarusian paratroopers in joint exercises, not far from the Belarusian Polish border.
“We’ve seen images of Russian strategic bombers taking to the skies over Belarus.”
He added: “I don’t think Russia wants to go to war with the West over this migrant crisis.
“But there is no room for complacency and there is a danger.
“Because such is the level now I think of anti-NATO anti-Western rhetoric emanating from Moscow and from Minsk, and such as the scale of suspicion in the West, I think of Russia’s intentions, whether we’re talking Belarus or Ukraine, that there is always the danger of misinterpretation of miscalculation.
“Of mistakes on both sides.”
Professor Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski has warned that Russia’s leader is looking for “weak points” to exploit Europe and NATO.
Professor Butterwick-Pawlikowski told GB News: “I am not sure Lukashenko is a complete puppet of Putin.
“He’s always was had his own axe to grind, he’s always sought a little bit of manoeuvre room.
“But the current EU sanctions on the current unity of NATO regarding the border has certainly made him more dependent on Putin and Putin certainly wishes to test the EU’s response.
“He wishes to test NATO’s response and once he finds a weak point, he’ll keep on pressing until he can exploit it.”
It comes as AFP News Editor Dave Clark told France 24 that Brussels has “shot itself in the foot” for not passing a common border policy that would have seen member states coordinate a plan to take in migrants.
He warned that Belarus and Russia were now looking to take advantage of the lack of European unity.
Mr Clark told France 24: “It’s good that the European Union is standing up now, and they’ve only got themselves to blame if this is the crisis they found themselves in.”