Merkel Calls on Putin to Influence Belarus to Stop Migrant Crisis

BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 19: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU, L) greets Russian President Vladimir Putin as he arrives for an international summit on securing peace in Libya at the German federal Chancellery on January 19, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. Leaders of nations and organizations linked to the current conflict …
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Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to influence the Belarusian government to stop the migrant crisis unfolding along the Polish border.

German Chancellor Merkel spoke to the Russian President on Wednesday on the phone about the migrant crisis along the Belarusian border.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said that Chancellor Merkel told President Putin: “The instrumentalisation of migrants against the European Union by the Belarusian regime is inhumane and completely unacceptable.”

Dr Merkel then asked Putin “to influence the regime in Minsk”, according to Kronen Zeitung.

The call with President Putin comes just weeks after German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer stated that Russia was responsible for the surge of thousands of migrants who have attempted to cross the EU border with Belarus, thousands who have also gone on to enter Germany.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas criticised Minister Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Wednesday as well, calling for the European Union to enact new sanctions against the country, echoing comments this week by European Commissioner Ylva Johansson.

“We will sanction all those who participate in the targeted smuggling of migrants,” Minister Maas said and added that the EU must “extend and tighten… sanctions against Lukashenko’s regime”.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, meanwhile, has also accused Russia of being partly to blame for the crisis by accusing the country of engaging in “neo-imperialist politics”.

“This is the latest attack by Lukashenko, but he has an aide, and this aide is in Moscow. This aide is President Putin,” the Polish prime minister said, adding: “It shows that he is determined to rebuild the Russian Empire, a scenario that we, all Poles, must vigorously oppose.”

Earlier this week, Finland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto warned that the crisis on the border between Poland and Belarus could escalate into conflict.

Piotr Müller, the spokesman for the Polish government, went even further, saying: “We fear that these kinds of events could escalate at Poland’s border in the near future, and then of an armed nature.”

The response from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the crisis has been the suggestion that the European Union should simply pay the Belarusian regime to stop the flow of thousands of illegals, referencing the EU’s 2016 deal with Turkey to take back migrants.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com

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