Putin must follow up his words with deeds to end Belarus border crisis: Germany

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks cautiously about Moscow’s offer for help.

BERLIN (AA) – Germany on Monday called on Russia to put its rhetoric into practice and exercise its influence over Belarus to end the migrant crisis.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas spoke cautiously about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer for help to resolve the crisis at the EU borders.

“Putin is certainly the one who can simply use his influence on Lukashenko to end this really inhuman attempt,” he said, accusing Belarus of using migrants as a political tool to exert pressure on the EU.

“If Putin can provide help, he should do so. He should not only talk about it, he should follow up his words with deeds,” he added.

Tensions between EU member states and Belarus escalated last week after hundreds of migrants, mostly from the Middle East countries, headed to the country’s western border with Poland, tried to breach the barriers.

Poland accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of engaging in a form of “hybrid warfare” and using migrants as a weapon to destabilize European countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed claims that Kremlin is engineering the recent migrant crisis, saying Moscow is ready to facilitate efforts to resolve the problem.

“We are ready to do our utmost [to help resolve the situation] if there is anything we can do,” he told state channel Rossiya-1 on Nov. 13.


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