By Stanisław Żaryn, for StopFake

In retaliation for the West’s robust response to acts of state terrorism committed by the regime of A. Lukashenko, the Belarusian president has weaponized illegal migration. He opened an artificial, paid migratory route via Belarus’ largest airports with the aim to smuggle the comers – mostly from the Middle East – across the border with Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. The objective of this massive, special operation is to destabilize not only those three countries, but the whole European Union by causing the repeat of the 2015 migrant crisis. The Russian president Vladimir Putin is Lukashenko’s silent accomplice in these hostile efforts.

The biggest migratory pressure is currently on Poland, after the regime in Minsk redirected its earlier focus from Lithuania and Latvia. However, one must bear in mind that said migratory route has been set up and is fully controlled by Lukashenko. Although he has eased up on the two Baltic States for the time being, it is just a matter of his whim to strike them again with this “demographic weapon” at any moment.

Since August, almost 15,000 migrants have attempted to illegally cross the Belarus-Poland border, with 7,500 such attempts in September alone, and 3,500 more in the very first days of October. But how did those people get to Belarus in such large numbers in the first place? So, Lukashenko had engaged the whole state apparatus (which is penetrated by secret and security services) in the search for locations with thousands of potential migrants to Europe. Iraq was one of the countries that met the criteria. Hence, flight connections were set up between Belarus and Iraq. Before the Iraqi authorities suspended flights from Baghdad to Minsk following diplomatic talks with the EU and Lithuania, between May and September some 10,000 migrants had arrived to Belarus by 46 planes. And after the Baghdad airport was cut out from the scheme, the Belarusian regime quickly replaced it with new transit points in the Middle-East. For example, there are almost 30 flights a week between Minsk and Turkey’s Istanbul. Damascus (Syria), Beirut (Lebanon), Moscow (Russia) now emerge as new important points on this route.

With flight connections established, Lukashenko needed to fill the planes with passengers. So the potential migrants in those selected locations were lured by the offer of a flight to Belarus – as a transit country to the UE – presented by unlikely “travel agencies”. These are based mostly in Belarus and Iraq and have been mushrooming ever since the beginning of this operation launched by Minsk. The migrants pay these agencies up to several thousand US dollars for the trip. This includes a four-thousand-dollar deposit – returnable if the payer does not succeed in illegally crossing the Belarus-EU border and somehow manages to return home and collect it – the cost of paperwork, and a fee of a local guide whose task is to help these passengers check-in. Most importantly, travel documents issued by said agencies are legit, which simply means that the migrants arrive to Belarus legally.

The high price is not only for the travel by plane itself, but also for the “services” provided by the Belarusian regime during the second stage of the trip which starts upon landing. These include the transit to a hotel or an apartment in Minsk and a two- or three-day stay in the city (which some of the migrants spend on sightseeing trips (SIC!)). Then comes the transportation by soldiers or border guards by buses (or otherwise) to the area close to the border with either of the three aforementioned EU countries. The assistance of a guide who knows where the frontier is the least protected at a given moment is not “on the house” either. Plus the work of the Belarusian forces’ UAV’s that help pick such weaker spots.

On Oct. 17th, 2021, a decree signed by Lukashenko comes into force that extends a 30-day visa-free entry regime for foreigners, so far applicable only to the airport in Minsk, to five more airports spread across Belarus. On top of that, a list of countries eligible for this scheme will include some new locations: Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Pakistan, and South Africa. This cynical move by the bloody dictator only shows his determination to drown Europe in a new wave of migration while making big time money on it.

Poland is making its utmost efforts to insulate the border with Belarus. And our performance is high. As much as 95 percent of attempts to illegally cross it via the route described above have been prevented by the Polish border guards, with the support of our soldiers and police officers. We have just finished putting up a barbed-wire border fence. Of course, some of the illegal migrants do slip through the net. But the majority of those whom the regime in Minsk manages to smuggle to Poland get eventually captured by our patrol units.

Upon capture, the illegal migrants are temporarily taken to an outpost of the Polish Border Guard. If their behaviour, background stories, personal belongings or documents – if any – raise a red flag, they are subjected to thorough verification by the competent Polish authorities. Worryingly, 10 percent of those selected for “deep” checks in recent weeks have raised the national security concerns due to their alleged links to terrorist organisations, armed militias, criminal offences and trafficking in humans. The traces of such links have been found on their own phones or data carriers. This is oddly similar to the 2015 migrant crisis where overcrowded migratory routes were used by terrorist groups to smuggle their fighters to Europe.

The Kremlin seems to be on a wait-and-see mode. However, make no mistake, “such big migratory movements cannot be orchestrated without the approval of Putin”, as said by Poland’s Minister of Interior and Special Services Coordination Mariusz Kamiński in a recent interview. The Russian president, who is Lukashenko’s political patron, is the big fish who would like control the migrant flow and turn the tap on and off as he pleases, while hiding behind the bloody Belarusian dictator’s back.

Stanisław Żaryn is Spokesman for Poland’s Minister-Special Services Coordinator, National Security Department at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland