“Someone is helping” thousands of asylum seekers reach Italy’s Lampedusa, Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk claimed
FILE PHOTO: Migrants embarking on the Lampedusa ferry headed to the Italian mainland © Valeria Ferraro / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
A senior Polish diplomat has suggested that the recent surge in illegal immigrants arriving on the Italian island of Lampedusa might be a component of a Russian hybrid operation designed to erode the European Union’s support for Ukraine.
This concern comes in light of a report from the Italian Interior Ministry, which indicates that over 89,000 people have entered Italy illegally this year. Lampedusa, which closer to Tunisia than the mainland and approximately half-way between Libya and Sicily, is beset by a huge intake of migrants, and remains a prominent destination for these arrivals.
“Someone is helping these people walk hundreds if not thousands of kilometers from Nigeria and Central African countries to the Mediterranean Sea,” Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk speculated in an interview with Polish Radio on Tuesday.
“Someone who has an interest in it. And Russia undoubtedly has an interest in it,” he added.
He asserted that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s objective is to “destabilize the situation in Western Europe.” Mularczyk suggested that the current state of confusion and unrest brought on by illegal immigration serves as a means to divert attention away from the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. According to him, Putin is believed to be exerting influence “behind the scenes” in smuggling individuals into the EU, often facilitated by criminal groups.