May 27 – June 2, 2024
Security issues

The regime is systematically working towards creating a casus belli with NATO

The situation got worse
The regime is systematically working towards creating a casus belli with NATO

Despite de-escalation signals sent by Warsaw to Minsk, the regime continues to escalate the situation on the border in an aggressive manner. The likely goal of these steps is to test the neighboring country’s response in preparation for a border incident with Poland.

Minsk continues to escalate the migration crisis on the Belarus-Poland border, encouraging aggressive behavior by illegal migrants towards Polish border guards. Previously, migrants threw stones and makeshift objects at Polish border guards, but recently slingshots, pepper spray, and pyrotechnics have been more commonly used. Additionally, within a week, illegal migrants twice attacked and wounded Polish soldiers with a knife while trying to pry open the bars of the fence erected on the Polish side.

According to the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration, Czeslaw Mrochek, illegal migrants are trying to force the border in large groups, formed with the support of Belarusian services.

It is noteworthy that the escalation of migration pressure occurs amid the earlier announcement by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk about the possibility of opening the “Bobrowniki-Berestovitsa” checkpoint. This option is discussed to aid Polish small and medium-sized businesses in the border regions with Belarus and to unblock trade for residents of both countries. However, an additional checkpoint will not be opened if the military and border command expresses a “decisively negative opinion.”

The command’s response was prompt. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense of Poland, Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz, stated that the Ministry of Defense decided to actively counteract acts of aggression by illegal migrants. These steps are also linked to the recent activation of hybrid attacks on Poland, ongoing for several years. These maneuvers are perceived by Warsaw as an attempt to destabilize security in Poland and on NATO’s eastern flank. Notably, most migrants storming the border have Russian visas.

Moreover, from June 4, a 200-meter buffer zone will be reinstated in the Hajnowka and Bialystok counties on the border with Belarus. It will include 27 settlements and is necessary to enhance the reliability of border security and the safety of border service staff. The restrictions are introduced for 90 days and may later be extended. A similar buffer zone was already in effect in 2021-2022—it was established amid the migration crisis on the border, instigated by Minsk.

Clearly, given the worsening migration situation on the border, Warsaw is unlikely to unblock the additional checkpoint. Such development, apparently, fits the calculations of the Belarusian authorities, aiming to fully lower the “iron curtain” around Belarus, among other things, to limit the outflow of labor and brain drain to the West.

However, the most alarming signal is that the Belarusian authorities are not responding to Warsaw’s de-escalation signals in kind. Instead, the regime methodically moves towards creating a border incident, or casus belli, with a NATO member state. In terms of the recently adopted new military doctrine of Belarus, which is no longer purely defensive, such a border incident could be interpreted as a military-political crisis. At the stage of a military-political crisis, when diplomatic means are exhausted, Minsk reserves the right to use the full arsenal of military force, including the preventive use of tactical nuclear weapons.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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