November 30, 2021
The 2021 border crisis between Belarus and the European Union is a migration crisis manifested by a massive influx of migrants from the Middle East (mainly Iraq) and Africa to Lithuania, Latvia and Poland via the borders of these countries with Belarus. Added to this problem was the serious deterioration of relations between Belarus and the European Union, following the Belarusian presidential election of 2020, the Belarusian protests of 2020-2021, the incident of Ryanair flight 4978 and of the attempted repatriation of Krystsina Tsimanouskaya.
The three countries of the European Union described the crisis as a hybrid war through human trafficking, led by Belarus against the European Union, and called on Brussels to intervene. For European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, visiting Washington, “This is not a migration crisis. This is an attempt at destabilization led by an authoritarian regime against its democratic neighbors. It is the whole of the EU that is being challenged ".
The European Court of Human Rights, for its part, recalled the humanitarian obligations imposed on the Member States of the European Union.
The country has been subject to sanctions by the European Union (EU) and the United States since 2011. The first sanctions by the Council of the EU against Belarus date from the protest severely repressed during the presidential election of December 2010, which saw Alexander Lukashenko continue his previous terms.
Since May 2021, Belarus has once again been subject to sanctions imposed by the European Union, in response to the hijacking of Ryanair flight 4978 by the Lukashenko regime. The EU bans its airspace to all Belarusian aircraft. Investment projects are also frozen. In June 2021, the European Union takes a series of sectoral economic sanctions. 78 Belarusian personalities and seven structures are banned from movement in the union and their assets placed in it are frozen. In August 2021, the United States adopts new sanctions against Belarus.
Alexander Lukashenko declared at the end of May 2021 that his country served as a barrier to the passage of migrants, but that given the pressure exerted by the West he would no longer dissuade migrants from transit to countries of the European Union. Belarus is the world's third-largest exporter of potash and the EU plans to include this product used in the manufacture of fertilizers in the list of exports subject to sanctions to put pressure on the country.
Context of transit to Belarus from the Middle East
The wars that have destabilized the Middle East since the end of the twentieth century cause influxes of migrants to Europe following the destruction of the civil structures of the various states from which they originate. The difficult relations between the EU and Belarus constitute for them an opportunity which is at the source of the current crisis on the border between Belarus, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.
Migrants first take regular flights to Minsk from Istanbul or Baghdad or other Middle Eastern capitals. Regular flights from Baghdad run five times a week. Then a weekly flight was also organized from Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan to Minsk. Since August 5, 2021, flights have been organized from Basra, and since August 7 from Erbil. As all tickets to Minsk are sold out immediately, charter flights have been arranged from Iraq to Minsk. Turkey, meanwhile, runs eight regular flights a week. For the Belarusian company Belavia, which is struck