Head of the armed forces Sir Nick Carter has revealed his concern over the worsening situation on the Belarus-Poland border.
It comes after Britain sent in troops to help Warsaw cope with the ‘weaponised’ migrants being forced to cross into the EU.
General Sir Nick Carter said Minsk were pushing migrants ‘on to European Union borders’ to try and destabilise the region in a scenario he described as being straight out of the ‘Russian playbook.’
Appearing on BBC‘s Andrew Marr Show, Sir Nick was asked if he was concerned the situation could escalate and become ‘something really serious.’
He said: ‘Yes, I think I am.
‘I think this is a classic case of the sort of 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.’
Polish authorities have been reporting daily attempts by migrants to breach the border divide. Pictured: Migrants stand in front of Belarusian servicemen as they gather in a camp near the Belarusian-Polish border in the Grodno region today
Many migrants, large numbers from the Middle East, are in a makeshift camp on the Belarusian side of the border.
Polish authorities have been reporting daily attempts by migrants to breach the border divide.
Belarusian defence chiefs have accused Poland of an ‘unprecedented’ build-up of military on the border.
They have said controlling migration did not warrant the concentration of 15,000 troops backed by tanks, air defence assets and other weapons.
Appearing on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Sir Nick was asked if he was concerned the situation could escalate and become ‘something really serious.’ He said: ‘Yes, I think I am. Pictured: Sir Nick in a past appearance on the Andrew Marr Show (file photo)
It was announced on Friday by the Ministry of Defence that it would send in a small team of British armed forces personnel into Poland to offer ‘engineering support.’
The head of the British armed forces said that those being sent are going to build fences along the border rather than fight.
He said: ‘What it shows is our unity with Poland and the fact we stand beside Poland against these sorts of threats.’
It comes after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss urged Vladimir Putin to intervene in what she described as the ‘shameful manufactured migrant crisis’ unfolding in Eastern Europe.
Ms Truss said Moscow had a ‘clear responsibility’ to end the escalating stand-off and said the UK ‘will not look away’ in a piece for the Sunday Telegraph.
Belarus and Russia have a union agreement which envisages close political and military ties.
Several thousand migrants have set up a tent camp on the Belarusian-Polish border. Pictured: Migrants in a tent camp on the border of Belarus with Poland
Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus’ authoritarian president, has been accused by the EU of encouraging illegal border crossings.
They have seen it as an attack to retaliate against the bloc’s sanctions on his government for its crackdown on domestic protests after his disputed 2020 re-election.
The allegations have been denied by Belarus but it says it will no longer stop refugees and migrants from trying to enter the EU.
Belarusian forces were said to have deployed near the Kuznica border crossing, in footage released by the Polish Defence Ministry (pictured)
It is a move that has seen Syrian, Libyan and other migrants head to the region to try and slip through.
Ms Truss said the stand-off ‘marks the latest step by the Lukashenko regime to undermine regional security’.
She said: ‘He is using desperate migrants as pawns in his bid to create instability and cling on to power, regardless of the human cost.
‘The United Kingdom will not look away. We will stand with our allies in the region, who are on the frontier of freedom.’
Hundreds of migrants have tried to slip through the Belarusian border to get to the EU. Pictured: Migrants in a make-shift border camp
Sir Nick said he could not foresee if the situation could turn into a ‘shooting war’ but said that the UK and Nato should be ‘on our guard.
Tension in Belarus and trouble around Ukraine was described by Sir Nick as a ‘classic example of a bit of distraction.’
‘If you look at the Russian playbook over the years, the idea of Maskirovka, as they call it – this sort of theatre that they apply to it – it’s pretty typical of some stuff that’s been going on for years and years and years.’
Pictured: Polish police officers stand in front of the border fence in Belarus near the Polish-Belarusian border in Kuznica, eastern Poland on 11 November