PM warns of Russian attempts to destabilise region

Hanna Bardo/PAP

Poland's prime minister has said in an interview with BBC that a migration crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border, a build-up of Russian forces near Ukraine and soaring gas prices are all part of Kremlin plans to destabilise central Europe.

In the interview, published ahead of a meeting of Nato ministers in Riga on Tuesday, Mateusz Morawiecki said it was not too late for the alliance to take action against Moscow.

Nato and the EU accuse Belarus of deliberately orchestrating a migration crisis on its borders with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Minsk by Brussels.

Morawiecki told the BBC it was time Poland's Nato allies "joined the dots" as in a few months' time it would be too late.

"We have to wake up from this geopolitical nap," Morawiecki said, arguing that recent events showed the Kremlin and its allies want to change the political system and destabilise the region.

"Bad things may happen in Ukraine for instance, or there could be another huge migration problem for the whole of Europe," he said.

In the context of security threats, the prime minister mentioned the build-up of Russian forces on its border with Ukraine and rising gas prices as well as the Belarus border emergency.

He asserted that the "immediate perpetrator" of the border crisis was Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko but that "he has his sponsor, he has his principal" in the Kremlin, a reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"All the pieces of the puzzle put together present not a very good picture," Morawiecki went on.

He added that Russian propaganda attempts to exert pressure on the European Union with the aim of causing its collapse.

Nato foreign ministers are meeting on Tuesday with the participation of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary general, said on Sunday the Russian military build-up near Ukraine was a cause for concern.

"(Nato's) message to Russia is that they should de-escalate, reduce tensions and be transparent" he said, adding that "if they decide to use force, then of course, there will be consequences."