The field of political decisions is sharply narrowing
The Belarusian regime failed to foresee the consequences of launching a rash “migration attack” on the EU and shows no sign of grasping the gravity of the resulting situation.
On September 17th, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki held a joint press conference with Lithuanian President Ingrida Šimonytė and announced that more than 10,000 illegal migrants may try to enter the territory of the EU countries en-masse from Belarus. The Polish government asserts that the Belarusian regime is carrying out instructions originating in Moscow. Less than a month ago, in a similar joint statement, the Belarusian regime was accused of organising illegal migration, but Russian involvement was not mentioned.
One can observe a gradual stiffening of the positions of neighbouring countries from strengthening border controls through refusal to grant asylum (100% in the case of Lithuania) to denying that Minsk can act as a partner in one of the most critical areas of regional security. Meanwhile, the EU adopts a position of solidarity with the actions of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in ensuring their border security. There is no reason to believe that this pan-European position will weaken.
The Polish and Lithuanian allegation that the Belarusian regime is a tool of the Kremlin implicitly rejects the relevance of dialogue with Minsk to resolve the migration crisis. This is not only a tactical failure for the Belarusian regime, which aimed to force the West to the negotiating table on their own terms but also undermines Belarus strategic status.
Given that ensuring the border security of the EU remains a priority and the political tools to achieve this have been undermined, the only available mechanism is an exercise of power. Clearly, Warsaw and Vilnius are ready to act firmly and in solidarity should Minsk attempt to escalate migration pressure. If this situation persists, the informal indications from the Belarusian side about openness to dialogue will not result in the expected positive Western response.
Amateurish strategic analysis has caused the Belarusian regime to lose one of its few trump cards in possible bargaining with the EU. Minsk has become an urgent threat to European security instead of being seen as a valued “shield” of the European border.