Putin is now hoping for a direct dialogue between Germany and Belarus. “From conversations with Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko and Chancellor Merkel, I understood that they are ready to talk to each other,” Putin said on the program “Westi”. He hope that it will come to that soon.
In addition to political and military causes, the Russian President also spoke of economic reasons that make people strive for Germany in particular. “As far as I understand, social benefits for migrants are very high there,” he said. Why live and work in the Middle East when you earn an order of magnitude less than a non-working migrant with social benefits in Germany, he explained.
In the same interview, the Russian President described unplanned military exercises by the USA and its NATO allies in the Black Sea region as a “serious challenge”. However, he rejected a proposal by the Russian Defense Ministry to hold unplanned exercises in the region. “There is no need for the situation to deteriorate further,” he said. Therefore, the Ministry of Defense would limit itself to escorting aircraft and ships (NATO, note).
Poland and other Western countries had previously accused Moscow of helping Minsk smuggle migrants to the EU’s external border. Thousands of people, especially from the Middle East, are currently stuck there in freezing temperatures. Ten people have already died in the border area in the past few months, according to a report by the Polish newspaper “Gazeta Wyborcza”.
Polish police reported another death on Saturday. “The body of a young man of Syrian nationality was discovered yesterday in a forest near Wolka Terechowska,” the agency said. The cause of death could not be determined on site.
About a hundred people tried to cross the border again that night, the police said. At the sight of the police and soldiers, however, the people on the Belarusian side fled into the forest.
The EU accuses Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko of targeting migrants to the borders of the EU states of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in retaliation for sanctions. At an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday, the United States and the European members of the Belarusian government accused the Belarusian government of “orchestrating the instrumentalization of people” and destabilizing the EU’s external borders.
Poland has stationed 15,000 soldiers in the area because of the crowds and built a fence made of barbed wire. Belarus and allied Russia announced joint military exercises in the Belarusian region of Grodno near the Polish border on Friday.
Meanwhile, Lukashenko ordered humanitarian aid primarily for the children of migrants stranded in the border area with Poland. The Belarusian state news agency BelTA reported on Saturday that food tents should be set up. The opposition Belarusian Telegram channel Nexta published videos allegedly showing Belarusian security forces shooting in the air to intimidate migrants. Among the people there are also children, “about whom the state propagandists are supposedly so worried,” it said. Because independent journalists are not allowed into the border area, such information cannot be verified at the moment. (APA / red.)