Russian, Belarusian presidents also discuss situation in Ukraine, US-Ukraine military drills near Russian borders.
MOSCOW (AA) – The Russian president and his Belarusian counterpart Tuesday discussed the migrants’ situation on the Belarusian-Polish border, the Kremlin said.
In a phone talk, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko exchanged views on the migration crisis on the borders of Belarus with the EU countries, and Lukashenko’s phone conversation with Germany’s acting Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Kremlin said in a statement.
In a separate statement, the press service of the Belarusian president said Putin and Lukashenko discussed “joint actions to defend the borders of the Union State.”
The situation in Ukraine and the unscheduled military exercises by Ukraine and the United States near the borders of the Russian Federation and in the Black Sea also came under discussion, it said.
On Monday, Lukashenko and Merkel discussed ways and prospects of solving the migration crisis and humanitarian support for refugees.
– Poland’s behavior towards migrants slammed
Separately, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov slammed Poland’s “unacceptable behavior” towards migrants, claiming the country’s law enforcement forces use tear gas, water cannons, and warning shots against migrants.
Poland’s authorities are hiding their actions from the media and the EU’s relevant migration agencies, not allowing them to the zone of the crisis, Lavrov told a news conference.
“The EU has a Border and Coast Guard Agency, Europol, and an Asylum Support Bureau. These are official EU mechanisms that were created to deal with such situations,” he recalled.
According to Lavrov, the EU bodies “would very much like to visit the border from the Polish side, but they are not allowed to send their experts there so that they do not form an objective picture and develop recommendations for Brussels.”
In October, Belarus suspended a migration agreement with the EU.
The EU accuses the Belarusian administration of “using irregular migration as a tool” and “trying to destabilize the EU” by sending migrants to the borders of EU countries Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.
Lukashenko denies allegations, saying migrants are using Belarus to enter the EU because it has a visa-free regime with countries “destroyed by the Western military ventures.”
According to the latest EU figures, 7,935 people tried to enter the bloc via the Belarusian-EU border in 2021, up sharply from just 150 last year.
Polish authorities stepped up border protection last week and mobilized more than 12,000 troops after a large group of migrants started marching toward the country’s frontier with Belarus accompanied by the Belarusian military.