‘Putin knows where the weak points are’ Migrant row a ‘success’ for Russia as EU fractures


    On discussing the migrant situation being used as a political tool by the Kremlin, Professor Carlo Masala from the Bundeswehr University in Munich claimed the EU are “terrified” of the crisis. He said: “It works amazingly well. Moscow knows where the weak points of Western societies lie and plays with them. “That’s exactly the point: We are terrified of ten thousand migrants in Western Europe.”

    The academic stated that Russia is politicising events to suit their own needs, and the West is failing to act in response.

    Discussing the military aspect of Russian foreign policy, the expert said: “If Russia stokes many fires and accelerates and decreases them at will in order to keep the NATO countries busy, shouldn’t the West concentrate on Russia right away, instead of laboriously trying to settle the many conflicts?”

    The expert also stated that the methodology in which the West negotiates with Russia is wrong.

    “Our only option is to show Russia by tough measures and countermeasures that we will not allow ourselves to be blackmailed… But Russia is only interested in negotiations that proceed in its favour.”

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    The Professor also described the use of migrants on the border of the European Union as a form of “hybrid warfare.”

    There are suggestions that the migrants are being used as weapons because Belarus, which is backed by Russia, cannot attack the EU economically or militarily.

    Speaking to NTV, Professor Masala argued: “What is happening on the border has Moscow’s backing. But Minsk is the actor. Belarus‘ Head of state Alexander Lukashenko announced after the EU sanctions were imposed that he would make Belarus a transit station for migrants on their way to Europe.”

    When asked why the Kremlin were so keen to back this, he said: “This is Russia’s attempt to further divide the EU.”

    He added: “Putin also has some success with this, as we can see from the contradicting demands of the EU states.”

    He suggested that some EU nations are facing a dilemma as to what to do next by saying: “Some do not want to give in, others want to remain tough on Belarus, but at the same time want to accept the people.”

    With nationalism and populism on the rise in Europe, the Professor gave a stern warning of the consequences of an influx of migrants between differing political views in Europe.

    He said: “If there were even uglier images of the use of violence, it could also divide society in Europe further. Letting Belarus have its way is part of Russia’s destabilisation campaign.”

    With the ongoing deployment of troops on the Ukrainian border, the academic suggested that Moscow was diverted attention in all directions.

    He said: “Russia is doing other things that are in its own interest. For example, the massing of troops on the border with Ukraine.”

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    The role of NATO has been questioned by many since the end of the Cold War, and with resources potentially now being stretched with two fronts to consider, the expert suggests this could be Russia’s catalyst to exhausted the alliance.

    Speaking of just how, the professor mentioned: “The plan is to dig into every strategic vacuum, to cause problems there and to overtax the NATO states through the massiveness of these problems because they do not provide a coherent answer to them. That is the idea that Russia is pursuing.”

    With sanctions against Belarus being a major factor in the current crisis on the Polish border, the EU appear to be out of options as to how to deal with the situation

    Placing further on Belarus will solely inflame the situation further, yet not acting at all sends the wrong signal.

    Professor Masala suggests Russia could be the key to resolving the situation.

    He said: “One could extend sanctions against politicians and the military as well as against the economy. The sanctions imposed on the occupation of Crimea are not very severe, otherwise, the Russian economy would have more problems. For example, excluding Russia from the SWIFT system would really affect Russia because Russian companies would then no longer be able to participate in international payment transactions.”

    With the US recently having deployed nuclear-capable hardware to Germany, the professor warned of dire consequences.

    Ending the analysis he said: “Deterrence is defined by equipment and by readiness, i.e. preparation and the willingness to act,” something that hopefully, neither party wants to test.

    Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg


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