Russia Blames EU for Migrant Crisis on Belarus and Poland Border

Russia Blames EU for Migrant Crisis on Belarus and Poland Border

Russia on Wednesday blamed the European Union for the migrant crisis on the border between Belarus and Poland, accusing it of trying to "strangle" Belarus with plans to close its borders.

Ummatimes - As migrants from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa made renewed attempts to enter Poland overnight, Moscow sent a further signal of support for its Belarusian ally by sending two strategic bombers to patrol Belarusian airspace.

Tu-22M3 bombers helped test Belarus's joint air defense system, RIA news agency quoted the defense ministry as saying it had nothing to do with the migrant crisis but underscored rising tensions on NATO's eastern border, Reuters reported, November 10, 2021.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a joint news conference with his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei he hoped the Europeans responsible "would not allow themselves to be pulled into a fairly dangerous spiral".

Makei said Russia and Belarus support each other, including in terms of joint responses to activities that are hostile to their countries.

President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a phone call that the European Union should discuss the crisis directly with Minsk, the Kremlin said.

"It is clear that a humanitarian catastrophe is looming because of the reluctance of Europeans to demonstrate commitment to their European values," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Peskov called Poland's comments completely irresponsible and unacceptable after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Tuesday said the migrant crisis at the border was orchestrated by Moscow.

Financial and other support from Russia helped Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko survive mass protests against his government last year after election results were protested.

Russia has doubled down on its support for Belarus and criticized the European Union over the migrant crisis, which Brussels says Belarus has created in retaliation for EU sanctions on elections and other human rights issues.

Peskov said the EU had in the past allowed similar groups of migrants and its move to close the border was now aimed at Minsk.

"This is nothing but a further attempt to strangle Belarus," he said.