Putin said plotting a new refugee crisis to influence EU elections

A frame capture from ZDF TV program called "Putins Kalter Krieg" ("Putin's Cold War") citing a former KGB operative, that Moscow is seeding refugee flows into the EU with “agents from Chechnya” to ensure fears and instability.

A frame capture from ZDF TV program called "Putins Kalter Krieg" ("Putin's Cold War") citing a former KGB operative, that Moscow is seeding refugee flows into the EU with “agents from Chechnya” to ensure fears and instability. 

Analysis & Opinion, Politics, Russia

George Vella, the foreign minister of Malta, says that Vladimir Putin is now seeking to exacerbate the civil war in Libya in order to provoke a new refugee flow to Europe, something that could help populist-nationalist pro-Moscow politicians in the upcoming French and German elections.

Kseniya Kirillova

Kseniya Kirillova

In a review of the Kremlin’s actions regarding Libya, US-based Russian journalist Kseniya Kirillova points to the long-standing Russian ties with Libyan commander Halif Haftar, whose army, Vella says, is currently advancing westward and creating a situation with “catastrophic consequences.”

If Haftar is able to unite with other opponents of the Tripoli government as a result, Vella continues, that could provoke “a civil war in Libya” and that in turn would lead “to a large number of refugees” who would beyond any doubt seek to go to EU countries. Given attitudes toward migrants there, that would have serious political consequences.

Moscow has been financing Haftar, the Maltese diplomat says, and clearly has “strategic interests in the establishment of a zone of influence in the central part of the Mediterranean world.” But the impact of refugees from there on Europe would correspond to the Kremlin’s interests even more immediately.

The Russian government has long had contacts with the opponents of the central government in Libya like Halif Haftar, a pattern Kirillova points out that Ukrainian sources confirm. Among them was the work of Stanislav Selivanov in August 2011 to free Ukrainian hostages in Libya but who later turns up as a pro-Moscow militant in Crimea and the Donbas.

Another important channel of Russian influence in Libya is the Russian Orthodox Church.

Its archpriest Zakhariya Kerstyuk served in the Moscow Patriarchate’s church in the Ukrainian embassy in Tripoli in Qaddafi’s times. He left Libya after Qaddafi was overthrown but has continued to make visits and maintain contacts with people there.

Such people have the ability to create problems even while giving Moscow plausible deniability about its role, Kirillova continues, and that makes them especially dangerous in the murky world of the Middle East not only with Hamas, a Palestinian group Russia refuses to identify as terrorist, but also in Libya.

Indeed, in the short term, Moscow’s involvement in Libya may be even more threatening than its involvement elsewhere. It certainly shows that the Russian government is ready and willing to fish in troubled waters rather than cooperate with the West in going after Islamist terrorism.

Given what happened after the Syrian crisis led to a refugee crisis in Europe, Putin knows a new flow would strengthen those who back Moscow and that would represent in Kirillova’s words “yet another strike at European values and international security.” Vella’s warning thus must not be ignored given that Putin has not only exploits crises but creates them as needed.

In an interview published in “Izvestiya” today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed Libya and said that Russia’s priority was “the preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country” with “a flourishing state, operating on strong state institutions, a capable army and law enforcement.”

To that end, the Russian diplomat argued, the various parties in Libya must cooperate, something he said would necessarily require that Tripoli give a prominent role to Moscow’s client there, Halif Haftar. Only if that happened, Lavrov suggested, would it be possible to root out surviving ISIS and Al Qaeda units there.

Behind that diplomatic language which is clearly directed at US President Donald Trump who says he wants to cooperate with Russia in the fight against Islamist terrorism is a Russian action plan that almost certainly will contribute not to the strengthening of the Libyan state or the prosecution of the war on terrorism.

Instead, as the Maltese diplomat suggests and Kirillova shows, Lavrov’s program will make Libya less stable rather than more in the short run, justify more repression there and spark a new refugee flow, exactly the same path the world has seen Moscow follow in the Syrian crisis.

And that Europeans will be affected in exactly the way Putin hopes is all too likely. Germany’s ZDF television has just broadcast a program about “Putin’s Cold War” that suggests, citing a former KGB operative, that Moscow is seeding refugee flows into the EU with “agents from Chechnya” to ensure fears and instability (summarized in Russian at rufabula.com).


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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Mephisto

    I have to say it but this is in part Merkel’s doing. EU should have secured its outer border long time ago, not invite refugees from all Middle East and Africa. EU cannot save them all, they contribute nothing to our society, are just unemploayable burden, contribute to criminality, can be recruited by ISIS. They are brainwashed by stupid medieval religion which for them is more important than the values of liberal democracy. EU should keep them out. If their countries of origin refuse to take them back, put complete economic embargo on those countries and stop issuing any visa to those countries including their politicians and diplomats.

    This is what makes Russian propaganda so successful. They take some real problem, some real failure of EU politicians, and mix it with fake.

    • туфтуф

      Refugees need saving. EU is rich enough to support them all. I say lets be humanitarian.

      • Alex George

        Sorry but an unreconstructed fascist, as you have repeatedly proved yourself to be, has no concern for refugees. You hope that they will have a destabilising effect on Europe, as per Putin’s plan, but really, how many of Putin’s plans have worked? He fails at everything. Europe will adapt.

        • туфтуф

          I dnt. Yesterday the lower chamber ratified the will of the ppl. It wnt affect britain.

          • Alex George

            Wow, and now you are posting random answers which have nothing to do with my post.

            What I wrote was that you have repeatedly shown yourself to be an unreconstructed fascist, and in fact you have no concern for refugees.

            I also pointed out that you hope that they will have a destabilising effect on Europe, as per Putin’s plan, but then I asked, really, how many of Putin’s plans have worked? He fails at everything. Europe will adapt.

          • туфтуф

            Not random. The only way we can stay in EU is if the house of lords overrides ppls and parliaments decision. But that wld hurt the worlds oldest democracy badly.

          • Alex George

            Of course it is random. You are desperately trying to deflect with things that have nothing to do with my post, because you cannot answer my points.

            What I wrote was that you have repeatedly shown yourself to be an unreconstructed fascist, and in fact you have no concern for refugees.

            I also pointed out that you hope that they will have a de-stabilising effect on Europe, as per Putin’s plan, but then I asked, really, how many of Putin’s plans have worked? He fails at everything. Europe will adapt.

      • MichaelA

        eu is rich enough
        russia isnt

      • zorbatheturk

        And I say you suck Putin’s a s s and enjoy it.

        • туфтуф

          Britain is out. We have no obligations to the fugees at all.

    • veth

      Assistant of the Russian President Vladislav Surkov expressed his condolences on the death of the leader of Somalia armed militant group Mikhail Tolstykh, better known as Givi. This was reported by one of the media representatives of illegal armed groups.

      It is noted that Vladislav Surkov expressed condolences to the family and relatives of the deceased gunman.

      Earlier it was reported that Ukrainian hackers broke into the conversation of Surkov, which confirms that he is in charge of destabilizing the situation in Ukraine. The SBU confirmed the authenticity of the correspondence.

      We recall, militant was eliminated by already known in the ranks of the militants scenario – Givi was blown up in his cabinet. Over the past few months, it is the sixth resonant murder. DNR accuses Ukrainian security services of murder, and Ukrainian law enforcers do not rule out that exactly Russia could eliminate the leader of Somalia armed unit.

      They regret this fascist nazzi terrorist is killed……………hahahaha

      • Alex George

        Very good point. And I suspect Surkov knows full well that his friend Givi was eliminated by the FSB but there is nothing he could do about it.

        A minor correction: It seems Surkov no longer has oversight of the Ukraine desk in the Kremlin – this role was taken off him last October and given to one of the other Deputy PMs.

        • veth

          Surkov on his way to be killed by a greengrocer truck with an drunken driver…………….

    • Alex George

      I don’t think that is correct. And whilst I appreciate you have no part in this, it is repeating some of the disinformation tha thte Kremlin has been spreeading about Merkel for years. She has been Putin’s greatest foe in Germany.

      Merkel is not responsible for “securing the outer borders of Europe” – she couldn’t even if she wanted to. She is Chancellor of Germany (hich incidentally has a constitution requiring it to accept refugees, which is NOT Merkel’s creation) and each EU country is independent.

      Secondly, how would refugees physically be stopped? Some, sure, but neve all of them. The problem must be viewed at its source – i.e. Putin’s actions which play a major role in creating the refugee problem.

      And thirdly, not all refugees fleeing from the middle east to Europe are muslim – large numbers of them are Christian.

  • veth
    • туфтуф

      And what the duck r u goin to do abt them? Shoot ’em all? Lolz

      • Alex George

        If they approach the front line, I am sure the Ukrainian army will.

        But the Russian army is afraid to use them, hence they stay back. If Putin loses them, what else does he have? His best contract forces are in Donbass.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          The dwarf has LOTS of tanks in reserve, though they may not be ready for immediate service. The loss of tank crews, however, is far more serious as they can’t be replaced quickly or easily.

          • Alex George

            Correct, hence why I wrote “the best contract forces” he has . Not tanks, but forces, which are a combination of equipment, personnel and the training that has gone into them.

  • туфтуф

    I think its all about geopolitics and oil. Russia is simply reafirming its super power status and helping its recovering economy by being able to imfluence oil prices world wide. Refugees are just a “by-product” of Russias efforts and do not constitute an aim itself.

    • Alex George

      Russia has no “super power status”, and no, its economy is not recovering. Quite the opposite.

      Putin is a meddler, capable of creating small mischief, but nothing more.

  • veth

    Russia and the forces under its control in the Donbas prepared for at least a week for their assault in late January on the Ukrainian-held front-line city of Avdiyivka, the Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. mission to the OSCE Kate Byrnes said on Feb. 9.

    In a statement delivered for the organization’s Permanent Council in Vienna, Byrnes said that recent OSCE reports provide clear evidence of a Russian military buildup near Avdiyivka before serious fighting broke out there on Jan. 29.

  • Xeroi Ato

    It’s Putin’s fault France and the US wiped Libya off the map of the world. .

    • Alex George

      LMAO That’s right – Libya no longer exists and its France that did it.

      Go look at a map you moron!

  • zorbatheturk

    ruSSians always bring death and destruction wherever they go.