Belarussian border guards will conclude operational and tactical exercises today in the Grodno border region. Belarus’ government ordered the combat,
Belarussian border guards will conclude operational and tactical exercises today in the Grodno border region.
Belarus’ government ordered the combat, detection and mobilization exercises in anticipation of EU border security expansion. Both Poland and Lithuania have recently experienced increased migrant arrivals on their borders with Belarus. They suspect President Alexander Lukashenko is coordinating and weaponizing their migration in response to Poland accepting a Belarussian Olympiad’s asylum request.
Last week, Poland stopped 349 people, mostly from Afghanistan and Iraq, at the Belarus-Poland border compared to a total of 122 throughout the entirety of last year. Lithuania and Poland have now begun turning away migrants leaving Belarus from the Grodno region.
In the short-term, expect Belarus to boost its mobilization capabilities to prevent the return of migrants from Lithuania and Poland. For its part, the EU is expected to continue coordinating the suspension of Baghdad-to-Minsk flights with Iraqi officials to stop Belarus from weaponizing Iraqi migrants.
Following an upcoming home affairs ministers meeting, the EU’s will likely continue providing tactical and surveillance support to both countries to counter Belarus’ grip on the migrant-border situation. Long-term, however, Belarus may stop migrant weaponization, but will not stop challenging regional stability until EU sanctions are reversed.