ROUNDUP: Putin and Merkel are talking again about migrants in Belarus

MOSCOW (dpa-AFX) – Amid growing tensions over the situation of thousands of migrants in Belarus, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke again about the situation. It is important to solve the serious migration crisis on the borders of Belarus with the EU on the basis of international humanitarian norms, the Kremlin announced on Thursday after the phone call. The Chancellor emphasized that “the Belarusian regime” is instrumentalizing “defenseless people in a hybrid attack against the European Union,” said the spokesman for the German government, Steffen Seibert.

As in the conversation with Merkel the day before, Putin pleaded again, according to the Kremlin, for a re-establishment of contacts between the EU and Belarus. The EU no longer recognizes ruler Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk as head of state after last year’s presidential election, which was considered to be falsified. The Belarusian opposition is also warning of direct negotiations that could legitimize Lukashenko. Rather, Lukashenko’s opponents are calling for new sanctions against the “regime” because, from their point of view, Minsk is using helpless migrants to exert pressure in the power struggle with the EU.

Merkel and Putin had already called on Wednesday about the crisis. The Chancellor asked the Kremlin chief to intervene in the conflict. After the threat of new sanctions against Russia became loud, the Kremlin gave in on Thursday and announced that Moscow wanted to contribute to solving the crisis.

According to the Kremlin, Putin also referred to the tense situation in eastern Ukraine. Accordingly, he spoke of a “destructive policy of Kiev, which increasingly relies on violent methods”. As an example, he cited the use of combat drones in disregard of the rules agreed in the Minsk peace plan. Merkel, in turn, according to Seibert, called on Putin to “advance agreements on a peaceful solution to the conflict”.

“The destabilizing and dangerous character of provocative activities by the armed forces of the US and other NATO states in the Black Sea was also addressed,” the Kremlin statement said. Russia also criticizes the presence of the US military there because of current maneuvers in the region. Russia is a neighbor of the Black Sea./mau/DP/mis

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