Opinion

Eastern Europe at the Edge of War?

Russia has been massing thousands of troops near the border of Ukraine, yet flatly states it’s not invading. Belarus has “weaponized” illegal immigrants on the borders of Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia as they attempt to forcibly enter the countries. NATO is worried, even Blinken mentioned that the situation is “concerning” and warned Russia from making a serious mistake. Eastern Europe is in trouble.

Eastern Europe on the edge

Satellite images reveal that Russia has amassed around 90,000 troops near Ukraine. After their so-called military “exercise” earlier this year, analysts say they never really went home to Russia as was claimed. And they left all the equipment near the Ukraine border at Yelnya. Russia still claims they are not planning to invade. Ukraine is not so sure. And Russia and Belarus are planning a joint military exercise. The icing on a dangerous cake.

Screenshot via MAXAR
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Satellite images released Nov. 8 showed an estimated 90,000 Russian troops gathered at the Ukrainian border, prompting House Republicans to petition President Biden to deploy troops to the region. Retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges told Fox News correspondent Jacqui Heinrich that Russia’s recent movements are a continuation of “what started back in April.”

“They never really went back to their barracks, even though the Minister of Defense  Shoigu said they were,” Hodges claimed, describing the new movement as “the next phase.”

He cautioned that Russia’s first move would not be a tank or a gunshot, but a cyber strike or “maybe turning off the gas or something” to create disruption.

Fox

BelarusAll eyes on Eastern Europe

eastern europe
Map showing Belarus, Russia and the proximity of other countries

According to Defense One, Belarus has been bringing illegal immigrants to Minsk and then sending them to the borders of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. Turkey has shut down their airports for travelers from three Middle Eastern countries who want to travel to Belarus. NATO has condemned the situation.

The North Atlantic Council strongly condemns the continued instrumentalisation of irregular migration artificially created by Belarus as part of hybrid actions targeted against Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia for political purposes..

We will remain vigilant against the risk of further escalation and provocation by Belarus at its borders with Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia, and will continue to monitor the implications for the security of the Alliance.  NATO Allies call on Belarus to cease these actions, to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to abide by international law.

NATO statement

 

 

The European Union accuses Minsk of creating the crisis as part of a “hybrid attack” on the bloc – distributing Belarusian visas in the Middle East, flying in the migrants and pushing them to cross the border illegally. Brussels may impose new sanctions as early as Monday on Belarus and airlines it blames for ferrying the migrants.

EU officials welcomed Friday’s announcement by Turkey’s Civil Aviation General Directorate that Syrians, Yemenis and Iraqis would not be permitted to buy tickets to Belarus or board flights there from Turkish territory.

Reuters

So how do you create a crisis? It’s easy. Just send large numbers of illegals to the borders all at once. Sound familiar?

Skirmishes involving troops on the border, skirmishes involving migrants, and now the addition of Russia: the situation at Belarus’s border with its NATO and EU neighbors is an accidental conflict waiting to happen. It would take just one group of Polish or Baltic soldiers responding to Belarusian shots—or shooting at migrants attacking them with clubs, logs, and similar tools—for a dangerous escalation to erupt. The Belarusians, now assisted by Russian forces, would clearly fire back, and the other side would respond to that fire. What’s more, in Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania there are NATO troops stationed there as part of the alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence, or EFP. “They demonstrate the strength of the transatlantic bond and make clear that an attack on one Ally would be considered an attack on the whole Alliance,” as NATO explains in an EFP factsheet. And on Nov. 12, Poland announced that British troops had been sent to its border—with NATO allies—on a reconnaissance exercise.

DefenseOne

Keep in mind that there are approximately 4,500 US troops in Poland as well. Another crisis for Biden waiting to happen.

*****

H/T Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children

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Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee is the columnist manager for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. All of her posts on Conservative Firing Line are also posted on Uncle Sam's.

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