Status: 11.11.2021 8:29 p.m.
In another telephone conversation with Chancellor Merkel, Russian President Putin called on the EU to resume dialogue with Belarus. For the second day in a row, Moscow dispatched nuclear-capable combat aircraft to exercises over Belarus.
Amid growing tensions over the situation of thousands of migrants in Belarus, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke about the situation again on the phone. It is important to solve the serious migration crisis on the borders of Belarus with the EU on the basis of international humanitarian norms, said the Kremlin after the phone call.
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.
Merkel sees “hybrid attack”
During 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.
The conflict over thousands of migrants in Belarus on the border with Poland who want to apply for asylum in the EU has been coming to a head for days. In view of the escalation, the European Union is discussing applying new sanctions to Belarus.
Lukashenko, for his part, threatened the EU with a possible halt to gas deliveries. “What if we turn off the gas there?” He said in Minsk at a meeting with high-ranking officials, including the military. “We are heating Europe and they are threatening us to close the border,” said Lukashenko.
Part of the important Russian-European pipeline Yamal-Europe runs through Belarus. However, only a small part of the gas is transported from Russia to Europe via the pipeline. The main volumes flow through Ukraine and the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline.
Second phone call within two days
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 and announced that Moscow wanted to contribute to solving the crisis.
Roman Rusch, ARD Brussels, on the influx of refugees on the Polish border
ARD morning magazine, 11.11.2021
A Russian government spokesman said on the phone call with Merkel that Putin had also complained about “provocative actions” by the US and NATO in the Black Sea and that Ukraine had been increasingly aggressive towards the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. This is how drones are used in the east of the country.
For its part, Ukraine has been complaining for days of violations of the ceasefire by the separatists, who are militarily supported by Moscow.
Merkel asked the Russian President to advance the negotiations in Normandy format (Germany, France, Ukraine, Russia) to implement the Minsk peace agreement for eastern Ukraine, it was said in Berlin. Most recently, German and French diplomats criticized Russia for preventing a meeting of foreign ministers in the Normandy format.
Ukraine wants to send troops
In the conflict in the border region, Ukraine, neighboring Poland and Belarus, announced that it would send thousands of soldiers to its border. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Belarus poses no threat. But his country would react “appropriately” to any development of the situation on the border.
Another exercise with fighter jets
Russia is firmly on the side of Belarus in the smuggling conflict. Recently, Russia had repeatedly pledged military support should the situation escalate.
For example, on Thursday Russia dispatched two nuclear weapons capable combat aircraft on a training mission over Belarus. The Belarusian Ministry of Defense said that two strategic Tu-160 fighter planes had rehearsed bombing on the Ruschanski military site.
As part of the joint exercise, Belarusian fighter jets simulated an interception maneuver, it said. It was the second time in two days that Russia had deployed nuclear-capable combat aircraft into the airspace over Belarus.
Federal Foreign Minister Maas blames Lukashenko for the suffering of refugees
Isabel Reifenrath, ARD Berlin, 11.11.2021 2:19 p.m.