Putin ‘holding Europe hostage’ as Russia unleashes ‘coordinated’ attack on EU

Belarus: Migrants mass at Kuznica-Bruzgi border with Poland

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Thousands of men, women and children have arrived along the Poland-Belarus border in recent weeks, hoping to gain access further into Europe. The brewing crisis has sparked a major diplomatic row between Poland and its eastern neighbour, as ministers in Warsaw refuse to let anyone in. It is estimated as many as 3,000 to 4,000 people fleeing from the war-torn Middle East could be camping along the border, many of whom have been escorted there by Belarussian forces.

Both the European Union and NATO have accused Belarus of intentionally triggering the crisis, by routing refugees and migrants bound for Germany and other EU nations towards Poland.

Many of the people hoping to cross the border are believed to be Iraqi Kurds, who have been joined by Syrian and Afghan nationals.

Horst Seehofer, Germany’s minister of the interior, accused Russia and Belarus of colluding to trigger the crisis in a bid to destabilise the West.

He urged EU member states to stand united against what he called a “hybrid threat” posed by “politically organised migration”.

Other pundits have warned the crisis is an extension of Russia’s recent ploy to gain political leverage over Europe by controlling the flow of natural gas into the bloc.

In the aftermath of the global energy crunch, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been accused of “weaponising” gas in a bid to push through the approval of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany.

Russia’s recent dealings with Hungary, have also sparked claims the Kremlin was attempting to challenge the national security of Ukraine.

The majority of Europe’s natural gas is imported from abroad, with Russia supplying about 40 percent of the supplies.

Energy prices soar and EU poses 'joint gas purchase'

Olga Lautman, a Russia-focused analyst with Kremlin File, has now claimed the unfolding crisis is part of a Russian ruse to put pressure on Europe.

She tweeted: “There are videos documenting Putin-Lukashenko’s operation of trafficking migrants from Syria. Not to mention Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

“They are sending these migrants to Poland and other EU borders. And holding EU hostage with energy.

“Does Europe understand what the Kremlin is doing?”

She added: “Now Putin is escalating several operations simultaneously while China is getting more aggressive too. It feels very coordinated and planned.

“The past few months I have been worried and this looks like it’s getting worse by the hour.”

Despite these claims, Europe’s troubled energy market has seen some semblance of stability this week after Russia’s state-run Gazprom resumed the flow of gas to the West.

The wholesale price of gas, consequently, fell on Tuesday after Russian began pumping the fossil fuel into Germany.

Last month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would be willing to increase the flow of gas into Europe if the demand was there.

He said during a conference: “There is a potential. It all depends on demand, contractual obligations and commercial agreements.”

President Putin himself said: “I would like to underline that the situation in the European energy markets is a bright example of the inadmissibility of hasty and politically motivated moves in any sphere, particularly in energy issues that determine stability of industries and welfare and life quality of millions of people.”

He added: “Russia has always been a reliable gas supplier to consumers around the world, in Europe and in Asia, and always has fully met all its obligations. I want to emphasize that.”

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