Belarus-Poland: Migrants detained attempting border crossing
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Angela Merkel pledged Germany’s “complete solidarity” to Poland – which is currently fending off a migrant crisis at its eastern external border – in a press conference following talks with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Berlin on Thursday. She said: “We must be united among us Europeans.”
The eastern European dictator has been accused of allowing migrants to openly cross the border into EU countries Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.
Polish forces have been deployed at the border to prevent migrants entering the EU.
Ms Merkel struck a united tone with her Polish counterpart, stating that the two “have the same opinions on the nature of the crisis we are in and how to solve it”.
Mr Morawiecki stuck to the procedures Poland had implemented at the border.
He emphasised that his country on the border with Belarus protects the external border of the European Union.
He said: “In this context, we are also defending Germany from a large wave of refugees, because Lukashenko tried to test this border.”
However, Ms Merkel had to defend her phone calls with Mr Lukashenko.
According to German publication Welt, he was Germany’s point of contact on humanitarian questions concerning the refugees.
But, she said, if there was no progress on the crisis, the EU should consider further sanctions against Lukashenko’s regime.
Since October last year, the EU has imposed restrictive measures against Belarus.
It did so because it failed to recognise the outcome of the 2020 presidential elections in Belarus, which included intimidation and violent repression of peaceful protests against the leader.
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The EU believes the elections – which saw Mr Lukashenko restored to power for a sixth time – were “neither free, nor fair.”
The European dictator previously threatened to open borders for drugs and migrants earlier this year.
Speaking in July, he said: “We will not hold anyone back. We are not their final destination after all.
“They are headed to enlightened, warm, cozy, Europe.”
Earlier, NATO accused the country of trying to use illegal immigration as a tool to destabilise the EU.
In Brussels, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, condemned Mr Lukashenko’s actions as “inhuman and cynical” in a meeting with Polish president Andrzej Duda.
Mr Duda said Poland was now counting “more than 750 attacks” on its own border.
He alleged that the migrants had used “knives, metal poles and, in some cases, tear gas” against the Polish forces – suggesting that they are being equipped and helped by Belarusians.
The migrant crisis is believed to be engineered by Russia.
Mr Morawiecki attributed blame to Russian president Vladimir Putin, who he believed was “masterminding” it.
On Thursday, Ms Merkel called for Russia to intervene, calling on the Russian government to say that “people must not be abused for hybrid purposes”.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg
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