British Foreign Secretary Lis Truss on Sunday urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene in the crisis that has trapped thousands of migrants on the Belarus-Poland border.
“Russia has a clear responsibility in this matter. We need to put pressure on the Belarusian authorities to end the crisis and engage in negotiations“Truss wrote Sunday Telegraph.
Putin on Saturday denied claims that Moscow was helping to regulate the situation, accusing Western policies in the Middle East of creating a migrant crisis. “I want the whole world to know. We have nothing to do with this,” he told state television.
Often Kurdish immigrants are trapped in almost freezing temperatures on the border, setting up tents and warming themselves by burning firewood.
Belarus says there are about 2,000 people in the camp, including pregnant women and children. Poland says there are 3,000 to 4,000 migrants on the border. More and more people are coming every day.
Truss said the scuffle was “the last step” by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to “undermine regional security.”
“He uses distrustful immigrants as soldiers in his attempt to create instability and retain power, regardless of human cost.“, Wrote.
“England will not look the other way. We will be with our allies in the region on the border of independenceHe added.
On Thursday, Britain sent a team of about 10 soldiers to help Poland strengthen its border.
Truss too European neighbors have been called upon to oppose the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. It travels from Russia to Europe via the Baltic Sea, warning Moscow that it will “allow it to tighten its grip on countries that rely on its gas.”
On Saturday, Belarusian officials said they would provide tents and heaters to banned people in a move that could make the presence of immigrants on the EU border semi-permanent.
The migrants had been trying to cross the border for months, but the crisis took a new turn when hundreds of people tried to cross together on Monday and were repulsed by Polish border guards.
On Saturday, Polish police said the lifeless body of a young Syrian was found in a forest near the border. “The cause of death could not be determined at the scene,” the statement said. According to NGO estimates, the death toll from the current migration crisis will rise to 11.
The European Union (EU) has accused Belarus of organizing immigration operations, issuing visas and chartering flights in an attempt to create a migration crisis in Europe in response to international sanctions against the Lukashenko government.
Despite pressure from the West, Lukashenko can count on the support of his key ally, Russia. The air forces of the two countries conducted “combat exercises” near the sector on Friday.
However, Moscow’s support for Minsk is largely cautious. In an interview, Putin said this week that he knew nothing about Lukashenko’s threats to halt Russian gas traffic to Europe via Belarus.
(With information from AFP)