Russia is exploiting a number of regional crises, such as the influx of migrants from Belarus, to provoke Europeans, force them to negotiate and impose their influence, according to several experts and diplomats specializing in the subject.

Vladimir Putin “bases his foreign policy on the opportunities that present themselves, such as in the Middle East or in Africa,” a European diplomat told AFP, according to Agerpres. But beyond this opportunism, “there is a real desire to progressively control everything related to the immediate neighborhood, especially in the former Soviet republics,” added the diplomat, a specialist in Russia.

In the context in which Minsk is accused of orchestrating an influx of migrants from the Middle East to the border with Poland, the “master” of the Kremlin refused to intervene and urged Europe to resume dialogue with Alexander Lukashenko.

“Why should Russia stop Lukashenko, who has found a way out of the crisis of his relations with Europeans who do not recognize him?” Asks Fedor Lukianov, Russia’s editor-in-chief of Global Affairs.

“The West, which has made Lukashenko an outcast, is now forced to negotiate with him,” said Alexander Baunov of the Russian branch of the Carnegie Center. to the great dissatisfaction of Warsaw, which on Thursday denounced any attempt to “legitimize” the Belarusian regime.

In the context of the influx of migrants from the Polish border, German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed on Monday with the President of Belarus, the first discussion with a European leader for Lukashenko since the repression of the protest movement that followed his re-election in 2020, which the EU refuses to recognize.

And as Europeans develop a new set of sanctions against Minsk, Brussels on Wednesday announced “technical talks” with Minsk on the repatriation of migrants.

Exploiting the weaknesses of Europeans

On another field, in Mali, where France has reduced its forces, Moscow is advancing its pawns by strengthening military cooperation with Bamako, using the Russian private group of Wagner mercenaries, although Moscow denies any connection with it, comments AFP.

“In the face of Russian influence in Africa, Europe has not yet found an effective response,” admits the European diplomat who spoke to France Presse.

Finally, in the context of Westerners’ support for Kiev, Moscow is showing its muscles and maintaining tension with “important and unusual” troop movements on the Ukrainian border.

This tactic, however, is not about an elaborate strategy, according to experts, who see in it rather an exploitation by the Kremlin of European weaknesses.

Russia’s tactic: to provoke fear

The deterioration of relations with Moscow and its isolation leave Vladimir Putin with no choice but to confront, Alexander Baunov estimates.

“The Kremlin is perceived as a toxic partner and all it has left is the tactic of frightening the West into forcing it to negotiate,” the analyst said. To this end, he takes advantage of crises “to make them negotiable”, such as the refugee crisis or gas supply.

From the point of view of EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, there is no doubt that in the current crisis Lukashenko is acting “with strong support from Russia.” Which Moscow strongly rejects, calling on Europeans on Thursday to stop accusing Russia of being responsible for “all evil.”

As Europeans prepare a defense strategy for years to come, a draft text consulted by AFP reveals Russian interference in the Balkans, the former Soviet republics, Libya, Syria or the Eastern Mediterranean. Carried out through “hybrid tactics”, they have the effect of “compromising stability and the democratic process” in these countries, with “direct consequences for our own security”, the document emphasizes.

Editor : B.P.

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