Saturday, October 1, 2022

Merkel asks Putin to intervene with Belarus on migrants

WARSAW, Poland (NWN) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene with Belarus over the migrant situation at the country’s border with Poland, where groups of migrants moved into the EU region this week. Made a daring effort to cross.

The chancellor’s office said Merkel spoke to Putin by phone and underlined that “exploitation of migrants against the European Union by the Belarusian regime is inhumane and completely unacceptable.” Merkel asked the Russian president “to exert his influence on the regime in Minsk”, her office said.

Russia is a close ally of the government in Belarus. Germany is a favorite destination for expatriates who manage to enter the European Union.

A readout of the call released by the Kremlin said Putin proposed a discussion on the problems facing EU member states and Belarus. It also said that Putin and Merkel “agreed to continue talks on this issue.”

Meanwhile, the EU said for the first time that it was discussing funding a wall on the EU’s external borders. The EU Executive Commission has never allowed EU funds to be used to finance walls, fences or barriers, but is now facing pressure to do so by several member states.

European Council President Charles Michel, who oversees the EU’s political agenda and meetings of European leaders, said during a visit to Warsaw on Wednesday that the European Commission is likely to finance “physical infrastructure at the borders” in the coming days. will discuss.

During a visit intended to show support for Poland, Michel said Poland was facing a “serious crisis” and “brutal attack” and deserved solidarity from the remaining 27-nation EU.

Poland’s defense ministry and local police said on Wednesday that several groups of migrants tried to enter the country late Tuesday and early Wednesday, but all those who made it were taken into custody.

Hundreds of migrants have been camping across the Polish village of Kuznica on the Belarusian border since Monday.

Poland’s defense ministry also accused Belarusian forces of firing in the air at a border area where migrants caught between neighboring countries have set up a makeshift camp. Posted by Ministry a video on twitter With the noise of what sounded like shots.

In recent months, Poland, Lithuania and, to a lesser extent, Latvia, all EU members on the bloc’s eastern border, have complained of unusually high numbers of migrants entering or trying to enter countries from Belarus Is.

EU leaders accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime of opening up a new migration route to Europe to create instability in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Lukashenko’s authoritarian government.

Following the controversial election of Lukashenko to a sixth term in August 2020, the European Union imposed sanctions on brutal crackdowns on domestic dissent.

Caught in a bitter political stalemate are thousands of migrants, some of them families with children, who have been driven back and forth across a wooded area of ​​swamps and swamps on the Poland-Belarus border. Eight people have been confirmed dead there, and the situation is getting worse as the night temperature drops below zero.

Poland’s government has faced criticism from the UN refugee agency and several Poles who pushed migrants back into the wild from across the border. But in Warsaw the government found support from United States and European leaders because large numbers of migrants have used wire cutters and tree trunks or sticks to force their way into Polish territory.

Belarus’ State Border Guard Committee said in a post on the Telegram messaging app on Wednesday that four people of Kurdish origin were injured in a temporary migrant camp on the border. The committee accused the Polish security forces of injuring them.

“According to the refugees, they were detained on the territory of Poland, where they tried to seek protection and refugee status. Given the many injuries… Polish security forces abused the men and took them to Belarus. Forcibly ejected through a barbed fence along the border,” read the post along with pictures of blood-soaked persons.

It is impossible to independently verify the information. Independent journalists face limits on their reporting in autocratic Belarus, while a state of emergency in Poland also prohibits journalists from entering an area along the border.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who met with the president of the European Council on Wednesday, described the current situation as the first time in 30 years that “the integrity of our borders is being tested.” Poland overthrew the Moscow-backed communist regime three decades ago.

Moraviki also suggested on Tuesday that Russia was behind the pressure to flee Belarus. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the suggestion as “unacceptable”.

“We consider the Polish prime minister’s statements that Russia is completely irresponsible and unacceptable for this situation,” Peskov said.

In one of the cases of attempted forced entry, a group of migrants with tools and equipment broke a razor wire fence late Tuesday near the village of Bialowieza in northeastern Poland, according to Michal Tokarczyk, a spokesman for the local border guards.

All were detained and returned to the border with Belarus, Tomczyk said.

Humanitarian group workers and local volunteers in the area are helping migrants who make it across the border, providing them with food, water and clothing.

German news agency DPA reported that Polish police stopped a group of activists who were on their way to the Poland-Belarus border on Tuesday night when they arrived at the Kuznica border crossing.

The activists had planned to pick up migrants in Poland and help them reach Germany. However, the German Interior Ministry warned that “unauthorized transport and possible unauthorized entry” could have criminal consequences, the DPA reported.


Maulson reported from Berlin. Daria Litvinova in Moscow, Kirsten Grishber in Berlin and Jan M. Olsson in Copenhagen, Denmark also contributed.


Follow NWN’s migration coverage at


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