Moscow, Nov 10, (Asia Free Press): Russia blamed the European Union for the migrant crisis on the border between Belarus and Poland on Wednesday, accusing it of trying to “strangle” Belarus with plans to close part of the frontier and urging it to talk directly with Minsk, according to Reuters.
Migrants from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa made multiple attempts to break into Poland.
Moscow dispatched two strategic bomber planes to patrol Belarusian airspace sending a signal of support for its ally Belarus.
The Tu-22M3 bombers helped test Belarus’s joint air defence system; the RIA news agency quoted the defence ministry as saying in a statement that did not refer to the migrant crisis but served to underline the rise in tensions on NATO’s eastern frontier.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a joint press conference with his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei. Lavrov said that he hoped responsible Europeans would “not allow themselves to be drawn into a spiral that is fairly dangerous”.
Makei said Russia and Belarus support each other mutually “including in terms of a joint response to unfriendly activity against our countries”.
President Vladimir Putin spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the phone and said, that the EU should discuss the crisis directly with Minsk, the Kremlin said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, during a media briefing, said, “It is apparent that a humanitarian catastrophe is looming against the background of Europeans’ reluctance to demonstrate commitment to their European values.”
Last year, following a contested election, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko survived because of Russian financial and other support after widespread rallies against his administration.
Moscow has reaffirmed its support for Belarus and bashed the EU over the migrant problem, which Brussels claims Belarus fabricated in retribution for EU sanctions over the election and other human rights issues.
According to Peskov, the EU had previously allowed comparable groups of migrants to enter the country, and its current efforts to seal the border are directed at Minsk.
“This is nothing other than further attempts to actually strangle Belarus,” he said.