Photo: Egor Eryomov / RIA Novosti / CC-BY-SA 3.0

​The 2021 EU-Belarus border crisis was preceded by a rapid deterioration of the already strained European Union (EU)-Belarus relations, in most part due to the Ryanair 4978 incident and the concomitant wide-ranging sanctions imposed by the EU on the authoritarian government of the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has often been referred by the media as "Europe's last dictator."

​What followed has been the creation of an artificial "influx" of migrants by the Lukashenko government, being pushed toward the neighboring borders of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. Since June 2021, the Belarusian government has been facilitating the journeys of refugees and asylum seekers to Minsk, encouraging and navigating them to cross into the three neighboring countries by foot. In a recent blog post, Research Assistant Ayse Bala Akal lays out the dangers oft-repeated label of "hybrid warfare" used to characterize this border crisis, comes with its own dangers.