The number of illegal immigrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon on the territory of Belarus has increased to 16,000 people. At present, the Council of National Security and Defense is considering several scenarios for the further developments that do not exclude the participation of Ukraine. NSDC secretary Oleksiy Danilov stated this at a briefing following a meeting with Heads of the Ministries and departments, law enforcement agencies, and military formations, Heads of Volyn, Rivne, Zhytomyr, Kyiv, and Chernihiv Regional State Administrations in Lutsk.
"This situation can affect us directly, so we must take all necessary response measures."
He calls the migration crisis a Russian special operation that aims "to undermine the situation in Europe and on our border." Danilov does not exclude the possibility that, together with the refugees, "other persons who are absolutely uncalled for on our territory because of the intentions they may have here" may enter the Ukrainian territory". In addition, according to him, migrants pose a threat with regard to biological safety.
"We have enough of our own covid for someone else to bring it. And not just covid."
Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrskyi stresses that the main task now is to provide mobile reaction forces in case of the situation aggravation and possible provocations. Earlier, he stated that the most vulnerable sections of the border between Ukraine and Belarus would be strengthened by additional forces of the State Border Service, the National Guard, and the National Police.
The Head of the SSU Ivan Bakanov confirms Danilov's words and calls the migration crisis a special operation of the special services of the Russian Federation and Belarus. He does not rule out that illegal immigrants can theoretically change the direction from Poland towards Ukraine. However, the Head of the department stresses that from the very beginning, Moscow and Minsk did not plan to send refugees to Ukrainian territory.
"At the same time, control is a fragile thing, and it can collapse at any moment. Weather conditions may change or, for example, the situation with covid will worsen among migrants... Therefore, I want to say once again: everything that is happening today is to make such a scenario impossible if the situation in Belarus gets out of control."
Head of the Security Service of Ukraine
Ambassador of Poland to Ukraine Bartosz Cichocki states that the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border is "a hybrid operation of the Union State that has the nature of a migration attack, where the migrants are both weapons and victims."
According to the estimates of Piotr Müller, Spokesperson of the Polish government, there are up to 5,000 migrants at the border, and more than 10,000 people are on the territory of Belarus.
At the same time, Vladimir Putin, the President of the RF, stated that the EU, and not Moscow or Minsk, was to blame for the crisis on the border.
"They (the EU countries) themselves are to blame for this crisis. I explained why: for political, military, and economic reasons. They have themselves created the conditions for thousands and hundreds of thousands of people to leave. And now they are looking for the guilty ones in order to absolve themselves of responsibility for what is happening."
President of Russia
The Russian leader called on all states that blame the Russian Federation "not to hang the blame on someone else" and advised "to go about their business." Putin added that Russia was always ready to help resolve the situation.
Context. The EU countries have almost completed preparing a new, the fifth in succession, package of sanctions against Belarus. According to preliminary information, the sanctions will affect approximately 30 individuals and legal entities. They will include Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei and the state airline Belavia.
In response, the self-proclaimed President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko threatened Europe to cut off gas transit through the Yamal-Europe pipeline.