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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poland subjected to 'psychological warfare' at Belarus border: opinion

14.09.2021 19:30
Poland has been under a "demographic attack" at the Belarus border, with "psychological warfare" and disinformation playing a key part, a security expert has said.
The village of Usnarz Górny on Polands eastern border with Belarus is one of 183 towns and villages covered by a 30-day state of emergency amid a migrant surge.
The village of Usnarz Górny on Poland's eastern border with Belarus is one of 183 towns and villages covered by a 30-day state of emergency amid a migrant surge.Photo: PAP/Artur Reszko

According to Witold Repetowicz, a recent surge in the number of illegal migrants trying to enter Poland, Lithuania and Latvia has been engineered by Belarus and Russia as part of a "demographic attack."

At the same time, Minsk and Moscow have used a "smokescreen to divert the public's attention" from their actions, Repetowicz, a Polish lawyer, journalist and analyst, claimed in an opinion piece posted on the infosecurity24.pl website.

Specifically, they used the standoff near the Polish village of Usnarz Górny, where some 30 Afghan migrants have been stranded between the two countries, to "embarrass" Warsaw, according to Repetowicz.

"The whole situation appears to have been staged by Belarusian officials, with the migrants apparently working with them," Repetowicz said in his piece.

He argued that the aim was to create a false image of Poland as being "scared" of a small group of refugees and deploying "ruthless" border guards to block entry to the country.  

This misperception was "successfully propagated" among the public in Poland, and also, with less success, in Belarus and internationally, Repetowicz asserted.

In the circumstances, Poland was right to impose a state of emergency in areas along the Belarus border, he also argued.

He said the state of emergency denied access to the border by activists who, knowingly or otherwise, "spread the Belarusian-Russian narrative."

Moreover, the state of emergency bans public gatherings and protects border infrastructure from being damaged amid "threats to border officials," Repetowicz wrote.

He argued the move boosted the security of the frontier at a time when Russia and Belarus were holding vast joint war games called Zapad-2021.

According to Repetowicz, the frontier crisis "may have been devised to escalate" during the Zapad-2021 exercises, potentially leading to violence between pro- and anti-migrant groups and "paving the way for a terrorist attack under a false flag."

The state of emergency practically rules out such a threat, and it also makes Poland better equipped to deal with a variety of other risks, Repetowicz concluded in his piece.

(pm/gs)

Source: infosecurity24.pldefence24.pl