Belarus crisis: UK must be ‘on our guard’ amid tensions between Russia and Eastern Europe, warns Defence chief
The warning comes as Liz Truss called on Russia to intervene in the "shameful manufactured migrant crisis" on the border of Belarus and PolandGeneral Sir Nick Carter, who has served as Chief of the Defence Staff since 2018, said he is “worried” about the current situation, as a migrant stand-off has unfolded at the border between Russia’s ally Belarus and Poland.
Horror scenes of desperate migrants trapped at the Poland-Belarus border are being shown around the world. The influx of migrants is believed to be the scheme of Belarus's President Alexander Lukashenko - who is thought to be importing migrants in a bid to divide the EU. Many believe this new hotspot on the Poland-Belarus border could become the fuse to a powder keg, leading to a more significant confrontation with western allies, including the UK facing off with Russia and its allies. But why exactly does Vladimir Putin blame the UK for the rapidly-worsening EU migrant crisis?
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Shots fired at Poland-Belarus frontier on Tuesday, as Britain warns situation could escalate further and Germahy suspends approval for Nord Stream 2 pipelineDuring a live Sky News report from the Belarus border on Tuesday, reporter Diana Magnay revealed that guns had been fired before she was forced to stop and move away after more gunfire was heard.
Russia said "Britain is to blame" for the migrant crisis at the Poland-Belarus border.
The comments came after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called on Mr Putin to intervene.
Writing in The Telegraph, Ms Truss said the UK would not look away as Belarus used "desperate migrants as pawns" in "a carefully crafted crisis".
The remarks have been echoed by other nations, including Poland, which has accused the Kremlin of orchestrating the crisis from behind the scenes.
Ms Truss's words triggered a furious response from Russia's Foreign Minister spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova.
Ms Zakharova said: "The British invasion of Iraq was 'carefully crafted'."
"Britain bears a clear historical responsibility for everything that has happened in the region since - the deaths of Iraqis, the destruction of Iraqi statehood, the endless flows of refugees, the emergence of ISIS, the humanitarian disasters in this part of the world.
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"Until London is held accountable for its crimes, its representatives have no right to point the finger at anyone."
Vladimir Putin, a staunch supporter of the Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko, struck a more conciliatory tone when he spoke with a Russian state TV channel - saying Moscow was ready to help with the crisis.
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Mr Putin and his allies have blamed Britain for the crisis due to its past invasion of Iraq, geopolitical expert Kervin Aucoin III claimed.
Mr Aucoin told Express.co.uk: "During the Iraq invasion, the UK was aligned with the United States in order to remove Saddam Hussein from power and create a democratic government within Iraq.
"Russia says that the UK bears a historical responsibility for everything that has happened in the Middle East, from 'the deaths of Iraqis, the destruction of Iraqi statehood, the endless flows of refugees, the emergence of ISIS, the humanitarian disasters in this part of the world'."
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The expert said one person or country is not to blame for the migrant crisis, and instead it is the result of a culmination of events.
Those events primarily include wars in Iraq and Syria, the rise and fall of ISIS, chaos in Afghanistan and Russia and its allies funnelling migrants to specific countries, Mr Aucoin added.
The coronavirus pandemic causing borders to close, and fuelling an economic and health crisis around the world, have also contributed.
British armed forces chief General Sir Nick Carter this week warned the UK should be prepared for war with Russia, as the Poland-Belarus tensions escalate.
The outgoing head of the UK's armed forces said the military should be ready for war - but added he does not believe Mr Putin really wants "hot war" with the west.
Sir Nick said Russia was in a "hybrid playbook where you link disinformation to destabilisation, and the idea of pushing migrants on to the European Union's borders is a classic example of that sort of thing".
He added it was most likely that the Belarus and Ukraine border situations were "classic distraction" tactics from the Russian Government of the type which had been going on "for years and years and years".
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The ongoing crisis and illegal funnelling of migrants could well pave the way for Mr Putin to begin a campaign to invade and take over former Soviet Empire countries, Mr Aucoin said.
Mr Aucoin told Express.co.uk: "If Russia does attempt to invade, the European Union and the United Kingdom will have to decide between increased sanctions/other diplomatic strategies or full-fledged war."
He added the crisis "may devolve into armed conflict between the EU, UK, and US forces and Belarus, Russia and its allies."
Diplomacy is the main tactic to avert this type of escalation and while these approaches are being tried, discussions about military action may be required.
Mr Aucoin added: "The UK has continued to express its support of EU countries and that they will not sit idly by and watch Russia attempt to invade these sovereign nations."
The former Poland-based intelligence analyst said ultimately when all diplomatic avenues are exhausted, there will be a military conflict.
The owner of private intelligence company, Aucoin Analytics, said the UK has thus far not been able to calm tensions and could lead to a bigger crisis.
‘Not migrants. People’: People urged to modify language used to describe English Channel drowning victims
‘Not migrants. People’: People urged to modify language used to describe English Channel drowning victims -Yesterday, 27 people died by drowning after a small boat capsized in the Channel on the way to Britain, triggering debates about the UK’s strict immigration system and the role of people smugglers who facilitate the dangerous crossings.
Some believe the ongoing crisis may be the start of World War 3.
However, Mr Aucoin said the migrant crisis alone would not lead to WW3 as wars do not break out due to one big crisis.
He told Express.co.uk: "It is actually many data points leading up to a crisis that will lead to war.
"So, the migrant crisis alone would not be a good case for the UK and EU to declare war on Russia, but annexing Crimea, building up troops along the borders, and a targeted misinformation campaign, the crisis along the border that all culminates with Belarus and Russia invading any of the aforementioned countries would be cause for military action against Russia."
The geopolitical expert did, however, agree with General Sir Nick Carter that Russia is the biggest threat to Europe right now.
He added it was wise for the UK to be "prepared for a full armed conflict with Russia and its allies" because of Mr Putin's aims to re-establish the Soviet Union and his manipulation of the migrant crises to attain this goal.
Mr Aucoin added: "The West (EU, UK, US) will need to make it clear that what Russia has been doing (using migrants to cause instability in the region) is in violation of international law and that any further escalation will not be tolerated.
"More sanctions will not work. At some point, words will need to become actions.
"Since the 2008 Russo-Georgian war, where EU countries basically sat on their hands and neither condemned nor approved of Russia's actions, Russia has been militarily moving through the region, testing what the international community will and will not accept."
Darmanin scraps migrant crisis meeting with UK counterpart after Johnson letter .
French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told his UK counterpart Priti Patel on Friday that he had cancelled her invitation to a meeting this weekend after criticism of France by Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the Channel migrant crisis. In a message seen by AFP, Darmanin told Patel the letter from Johnson to President Emmanuel Macron suggesting France takes back migrants who cross the English Channel was a "disappointment". Referring toIn a message seen by AFP, Darmanin told Patel the letter from Johnson to President Emmanuel Macron suggesting France takes back migrants who cross the English Channel was a "disappointment".