Putin: Russia Ready to Help Resolve Migrant Crisis on Belarusian-Polish Border

Nov. 14, 2021
photo: © REUTERS / BelTA

Tens of thousands of migrants, primarily from the Middle East and Africa, have travelled to Belarus in recent months in hopes of making their way across the border into neighbouring Poland and the Baltic states and further west. Minsk has stressed that it no longer has the resources to combat the flow thanks to crushing European sanctions.

Russia is ready to do everything in its power to help resolve the migration crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border, President Vladimir has announced.

“We are ready to contribute to this in every way possible, if, of course, something will depend on us,” Putin said, speaking in an interview with Russian television on Sunday.

“I learned about what’s taking place on the Polish-Belarusian border in the media. I never discussed this issue with [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko before. I spoke to him twice, only after this crisis began,” Putin said, when asked to comment on claims made by some Western officials and media that Russia is responsible for the crisis.

“Therefore, when we hear statements or allegations in our direction, I would like to tell everyone: deal with your internal problems, and don’t try to pass questions which should be resolved by your own appropriate departments onto someone else,” Putin stressed.

Commenting on allegations that Russia’s flag carrier airline Aeroflot has had a role in transporting migrants to Belarus, the Russian president insisted that the company was not knowingly involved.

“They themselves created the conditions for thousands and hundreds of thousands of people to travel their way. And now they’re looking to find the guilty party in order to absolve themselves of responsibility for the events,” Putin said. “What does Aeroflot have to do with it? Has even one Aeroflot plane transported anyone? I have no idea, but, possibly, someone could have used some kind of planes and come through third countries. What do we have to do with anything? I’ll repeat: this is an attempt to remove one’s own responsibility for those events which are currently taking place.”

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The situation on Belarus’s frontier with Poland, Latvia and Lithuania deteriorated sharply on 8 November after several thousand migrants arrived at the border with Poland and set up camp there, with some attempting to make their way into the European Union nation and travel further west, presumably to Germany. Brussels has blamed Minsk for the escalation of the situation, with some EU countries demanding fresh sanctions against Belarus. President Lukashenko has said that the West’s own policies – including decades of military interventions in the Middle East and North Africa, caused the current crisis, and added that previous rounds of EU sanctions against Belarus have drained his country’s ability to control migration flows.

West ‘Destroyed These Nations’ Statehood’

In an interview with Russian media on Wednesday, Lukashenko recalled his warm relations with Middle Eastern leaders toppled and murdered by the West, either through direct military invasion or the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ protests. “Iraq…Tunisia, Libya, Syria. Then they came up against Iran, took a look – too tough a nut to crack, they didn’t invade. Afghanistan, 20 years. And the result? They not only stirred up and shattered the Middle East, they destroyed these nations’ statehood. Yes, it was a specific kind of statehood, not like the one in Belarus or Russia, not to speak of the Anglo-Saxons,” Lukashenko said.

The Belarusian president stressed that instead of improving the lives in the countries they invaded, the collective West only managed to “destroy everything that was there, the way of life”, thereby causing the migrant crisis they now claim to be concerned about.

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Lukashenko also warned that Europe and the post-Soviet space should prepare for an even greater influx of migrants from Afghanistan in the coming months, particularly among those who worked for the US and NATO during the occupation, but whom the US now refuses to help. “The Americans called them, but ordered Europe and the nations of Central Asia to take them in for themselves. The Central Asian republics said ‘sorry, no’. Where will they go? They will go to Europe. The Americans are saying ‘let them be with you temporarily. We know what ‘temporarily’ means. These are Americans,” he said.

The Belarusian president pointed out that migrants were also making their way into Europe through Ukraine, but suggested that Western leaders and media have been silent on the matter thanks to Kiev’s status as a client state.

Published at sputniknews.com

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