The migrant crisis intensifies and Europe prepares to impose sanctions on Belarus

The European Union prepares on Monday to unveil new sanctions against Belarus, after the first high-level contact between Brussels and Minsk since the beginning Crisis of migrants on the eastern border of the EU.

EU foreign ministers will meet today with the aim of extending sanctions imposed on Belarus due to its repressive campaign against opponents of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled the country for nearly 30 years.

And after the European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell spoke on Sunday With the Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir MakeiThe latter stressed that any sanctions against Minsk would be “counterproductive”.

Borrell confirmed in a tweet of having raised with Macky the question “of the terrible humanitarian situation on the border with the European Union”, adding that “the current situation is unacceptable and must end. People should not be used as weapons”.

For his part, Macky felt that any sanction against Minsk would be “counterproductive”.

Thousands of migrants at the border

Thousands of migrants from the Middle East are camped on the border between the European Union and Belarus, which has sparked a confrontation between the bloc and the United States on the one hand, and Belarus and its ally Russia on the other.

Western countries accuse Belarusian President Lukashenko’s regime of deliberately orchestrating the crisis by encouraging migrants to come in Belarus and then sending them to the border. Belarus denies the allegations and blames Western immigration policies.

Also Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the accusations against Russia involvement in the crisis and urged the European Union to engage in a direct dialogue with Belarus.

Belarusian officials said around 2,000 migrants, including a pregnant woman and children, lived in the largest camp near the village of Brozhgy.

Belarusian authorities have provided aid, including tents and heaters, a move that could make the camp’s presence at the border almost permanent.

Poland refused to let the migrants in and accused Belarus of preventing them from leaving.

Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said Saturday that rumors spread among migrants that Poland would allow them both to pass and that buses would come from Germany to pick them up. “A provocation is being prepared,” he added.

The government sent a text message to all foreign cell phones along the border saying, “This is a complete lie and nonsense! Poland will continue to protect its border with Belarus. Those who spread these rumors try to encourage migrants to crossing the border, which could lead to dangerous developments. “

In turn, the German Foreign Ministry denied the rumor.

Despite the difficulties, migrants periodically cross the border but are often arrested and sent back in Belarus.

Aid agencies say at least 10 migrants have died so far, adding that a humanitarian crisis is brewing as temperatures drop below zero and calling for a reduction in escalation to help migrants.

The migrant crisis intensifies and Europe prepares to impose sanctions on Belarus

Lukashenko was wrong.

EU foreign ministers will meet today with the aim of extending sanctions imposed on Belarus due to its repressive campaign against opponents of Lukashenko, who has ruled the country for nearly 30 years.

EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said ministers will allow sanctions to be imposed on any party “that is part of the migrant smuggling operation” in Belarus, including airlines, travel agencies and officials.

“Lukashenko made a mistake – added Borrell in a statement to the French weekly Journal du Dimanche -. He believed that by acting in this way would have twisted our arm and forced us to cancel the sanctions. But what is happening is the front. “

Following pressure from EU diplomats, Turkey prevented Iraqis, Syrians and Yemenis from traveling in Belarus and the Syrian private airline “Cham Wings” suspended its flights to Minsk.

NATO’s “concrete steps”

Meanwhile, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has called on NATO to take “concrete steps” to address the crisis.

“It is no longer enough for us to publicly express our concern: what we need now are concrete steps and interventions for the entire Alliance,” he said. in an interview with the Polish news agency.

In turn, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken held talks with his Polish counterpart, Zbigniew Rau.

“These actions by the Lukashenko regime threaten security, sow division and aim to divert attention from Russia’s activities on the border with Ukraine,” said the State Department spokesperson.

Blinken warned of Russian troop movements near Ukraine and posted in guard Moscow against any invasion similar to its annexation of Crimea seven years ago.

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