Russia took a rare and bold move by dispatching two atomic bombers to patrol Belarusian airspace in support of its close ally as the EU accuses Minsk of “using migrants as weapons”.
Image: east2west news)
Russia sent atomic bombs to Belarus when the EU accused Minsk of pushing migrants across the border into Poland in a “hybrid attack”.
In a rare and brave move, Moscow has deployed two nuclear-capable Tupolev Tu-22M3 bombers over Belarusian airspace unwavering support for his close ally.
Meanwhile, Poland briefed its NATO supporters at a closed-door meeting where the alliance pledged their support, an official said.
Migrants from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa previously trapped in Belarus were among the 2,000-strong crowd that made multiple attempts to invade Poland overnight, Warsaw said.
In response, Poland announced that it had reinforced its border with additional guards.
The EU accuses Minsk of luring migrants from war-torn and impoverished countries to force them to Poland to sow violent clashes on the eastern flank of the bloc.
UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called on states to de-escalate and resolve the “unbearable” crisis.
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“These hundreds of men, women and children must not be forced to spend another night in freezing weather without adequate shelter, food, water and medical care,” she said.
“We are facing a brutal hybrid attack on our EU borders. Belarus is in a cynical and shocking way the plight of the arms migrants ”, said EU Council President Charles Michel.
The bloc’s 27 ambassadors agreed that this would provide a legal basis for further sanctions that could come as early as next week and target 30 individuals and organizations, including the Belarusian foreign minister and the national airline.
“At the beginning of next week there will be an expansion of the sanctions against Belarus very quickly,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters after a meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington.
“We will examine the possibility of sanctioning those airlines that facilitate human trafficking towards Minsk and then to the border between the EU and Belarus,” she added.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin blame the EU for this.
The Kremlin accused Europe of failing to live up to its own humanitarian ideals and of trying to “strangle” Belarus with plans to close part of the border.
Moscow said it was unacceptable for the EU to impose sanctions on Belarus because of the crisis.
The crisis hits the EU in a vulnerable area.
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In 2015, the bloc was profoundly shaken by the influx of over a million people who fled the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, creating deep rifts between member states, strained social security systems and increased support for far-right parties .
The EU seems more united this time around, but there are signs of internal friction: some in Brussels have warned Poland not to use EU money to build border walls and barbed wire, while others argue that the bloc is helping to defend its borders got to.
Michel said on Wednesday that the EU had to make a decision. Compared to 2015, the current crisis has an additional geopolitical dimension, as it unfolds on the dividing line between NATO in the west and Belarus, allied with Russia, in the east.
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The Tupolev Tu-22M3 bombers that Russia sent to fly over Belarus can carry nuclear missiles, including hypersonic missiles designed to evade sophisticated Western air defenses.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he hoped responsible Europeans would “not get drawn into a rather dangerous spiral”.
Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that in a phone call she asked Putin to use his influence on Lukashenko, “because people (migrants) are being exploited, they have become victims of inhuman politics, so to speak – and something must be done about it.” it”.
The Kremlin said Putin told Merkel that the EU should speak directly to Belarus.
Thousands of people gathered at the border this week, where makeshift barbed wire fences and Polish soldiers have repeatedly blocked entry. Some of the migrants tried to break through with logs, spades and other equipment.
“It was not a quiet night. In fact, there have been many attempts to break through the Polish border,” said Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak on PR1.
A video from the border obtained from Reuters showed young children and babies among the people trapped along the border.
“There are a lot of families here with babies between two and four months old. They haven’t eaten in the past three days,” the person who provided the video told Reuters, saying they were migrants themselves and refused to be identified will.
Some migrants have complained that they have been repeatedly pushed back and forth by Polish and Belarusian border guards, putting them at risk of hypothermia, food shortages and water shortages.
Syrian migrant Youssef Atallah said he feared he would die in the forest on the border after being stranded for days and unable to breathe through his nose after breaking into an attack by a Belarusian soldier.
Atallah, who finally got himself to safety at a migrant center in Poland on Wednesday, said he almost gave up after being locked in both directions at the border.
“We said (Belarusian guards) that we want to return to Minsk, we don’t want to continue this journey,” he told Reuters. “Said
there is no going back to Minsk for you. Just go to Poland. ”