The situation at the border between Poland and Belarus has escalated over the past few weeks as thousands of migrants have been stranded on the Belarusian side, trying to enter the EU nation.
Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania have accused Belarus of facilitating the movement of migrants to the EU to get back at Brussels for sanctions and urged for more preventive measures against Minsk. Belarus rejects the accusations and maintains that it is unable to tackle the influx of migrants under the weight of Western sanctions.
On Sunday, Borrell held a telephone conversation with Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei discussing the issue. The Belarusian side reiterated its readiness for mutually respectful dialogue with the EU and emphasised that sanctions are counter-productive.
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21:01 GMT 15.11.2021
US Eyes Sanctions Against Belarus Over Migrant Crisis
Putin Draws Macron's Attention to Extremely Harsh Treatment of Refugees by Polish Border Guards, Kremlin Says
18:11 GMT 15.11.2021
Macron, Putin Discuss Poland-Belarus Border Crisis on the Phone, Elysee Palace Source Says
French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone conversation on Monday, the main topic of which was the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border, a source at the Elysee Palace told reporters.
"The President of the Republic held a telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin, it lasted one hour 45 minutes. The main topic of the conversation was Belarus. ... The parties discussed the migrant crisis and threats from Belarus to block gas supplies to Europe," the source said.
Macron expressed solidarity with Poland in the situation with migrants on the Polish-Belarusian border and willingness to help if necessary, he said.
According to the source, Putin, speaking of Minsk's threats to cut off gas supplies to Europe, admitted that this would be bad for Gazprom and Russia.
Macron and Putin agreed on the need to de-escalate the migrant crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border, the source said.
The parties also agreed that gas could not become hostage to the crisis with migrants, as well as underlined the need to strengthen humanitarian assistance.
According to the source, Putin told the French president that he understood the need to end the migrant crisis.
18:10 GMT 15.11.2021
Polish Border Guards Expecting Migrants to Storm Belarus Border at Night
The Polish Border Guard expect an assault on the border from Belarus at night, the guard's spokeswoman, Anna Michalska, said on Monday.
"We expect that it will come to an assault, an attempt to cross the border. We can expect that this night can be hot," Michalska said on air of the Polish television.
18:06 GMT 15.11.2021
Lukashenko and Merkel Talk on the Phone, Telegram Channel Pul Pervogo Says
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Acting German Chancellor Angela Merkel had a phone conversation, the Pul Pervogo Telegram channel, close to the press service of the Belarusian leader, said on Monday.
The publication does not report the details of the conversation, promises to do so later.
17:28 GMT 15.11.2021
EU Never Pointed to Aeroflot in Connection With Migration Problem on EU-Belarus Border, European Commission Says
The EU has never pointed to Aeroflot in connection with the migration problem at the borders of the EU and Belarus, European Commission spokesman Stefan De Keersmaecker said.
EU foreign ministers at a meeting in Brussels on Monday approved the criteria for imposing sanctions against those who facilitate illegal migration from Belarus to the EU. As previously explained by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, these sanctions may affect airlines or travel agencies. Earlier, at a briefing in Brussels, De Keersmaecker said that the EU was in contact with a number of airlines, which, according to the union, could carry illegal immigrants. There are no Russian carriers among them.
"We never singled out Aeroflot, nor any other airline and Russia is among the countries we monitor for a potential or tendencies to be misused in the instrumentalisation of migrants by the Lukashenko regime," De Keersmaecker said.
However, he declined to comment on possible sanctions lists.
"On sanctions, we never comment publically about possible or ongoing discussions regarding specific listings," the spokesman recalled.
16:46 GMT 15.11.2021
Belavia Head Denies Claims That Flow of Undocumented Migrants Flies Via Moscow to Minsk
Igor Cherginets, the general director of Belarusian airline Belavia, said that the statements about the arrival of illegal migrants on the company's flights via Moscow to Minsk did not correspond to reality.
Earlier, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said that Russia was linked to the migration crisis around Belarus, alleging that undocumented migrants come to Minsk via Moscow.
"The statements that the flow of illegal migrants flies through Moscow to Minsk do not correspond to reality," Cherginets told state-run agency Belta.
According to the company's head, there are five flights of Belavia from Moscow to Minsk from two airports, Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo.
"I thoroughly checked: on all flights from Moscow there are about 10 people with passports not of Belarus or Russia. Among them there are representatives of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan. And there is only one Iraqi citizen, with a diplomatic passport," Cherginets said.
16:37 GMT 15.11.2021
Belarusian Security Forces Do Not Allow Migrants to Return Back From Border Inward Belarus, Poland Claims
The Polish Interior Ministry claims that the Belarusian security forces did not allow migrants to return from the border area inside the country.
"The Belarusian services all the time control the persons who were brought to the border crossing, at the same time preventing them from returning deep into Belarus," the ministry said on Twitter.
16:34 GMT 15.11.2021
Borrell: EU Foreign Ministers Agree to Expand Scope of Sanctions Regime on Belarus
EU foreign ministers agreed to expand the score of sanctions against Belarus, the document will be finalized in the coming days, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday.
"We agreed to expand the scope of the sanctions regime on Belarus," Borrell said at a press conference after the EU Foreign Affairs Council.
"At the same time we agreed to adopt a new package on sanctions which will be finalized in the coming days it will affect a number of people and entities," he added.
16:33 GMT 15.11.2021
Maas: EU Foreign Ministers Agree on Criteria for Sanctions Against Belarus
The foreign ministers of the EU countries have agreed on the criteria for inclusion in the sanctions lists of persons responsible for transporting migrants to the Belarus-EU borders, Acting German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.
"We have agreed on a new list of criteria. We will take full advantage of them so that everyone involved in smuggling conducted by Lukashenko is included in the sanctions lists. This is just the beginning," Maas said after the meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Brussels.
He noted that the EU would also continue to work with countries from where migrants enter Belarus, such as Turkey, Iraq, and continue to increase pressure on the airlines involved. According to him, they are threatened with bans on the use of EU airspace and airports.
15:00 GMT 15.11.2021
Minsk Says 8,000 Foreigners Denied Entry to Belarus Since August
The State Border Committee of Belarus considered the EU statements about the organization of illegal migration in Minsk strange, noting that since 1 August 8,000 foreigners have been denied entry into the country.
"It is very strange to hear accusations from the European Union of organizing migration flows by the Belarusian authorities against the background of obvious figures: since August 1 of this year, in just two and a half months, about 8,000 people have not been allowed into Belarus," the ministry said.
It emphasized that about 5,000 more foreigners who had entered Belarus legally during this period then had left the country as a result of measures taken to prevent violations of migration legislation.
"But these are potential migrants. And these are concrete, documented facts," the border committee said.
14:54 GMT 15.11.2021
Bank of Poland to Engrave Migrant Border Crisis on Collectible Coins, Bills
The National Bank of Poland said on Monday it will urgently issue a collectible coin and banknote, themed "Protection of the Polish eastern border," to commemorate the migration crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border.
"There will be a new coin and a new banknote 'Protection of the Polish eastern border.' The President of the National Bank, Professor Adam Glapinski, decided to issue the collectible coin and the banknote dedicated to the protection of the Polish eastern border on an expedited basis," the bank said in a statement.
No information on the denomination of the coin or the note was provided.
14:09 GMT 15.11.2021
Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia Call for Bringing Minsk to Responsibility for Migrants Crisis
The leaders of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia called for bringing the authorities of Belarus to responsibility against the background of the migration crisis.
"[We] are concerned for the human rights and safety of the migrants currently in Belarus, who are being forced to breach the European Union border, and urge to hold the Lukashenko regime accountable for human trafficking," the joint statement says.
The three presidents called for concrete actions by the UN structures responsible for human rights, refugees and migrants.
"The ongoing serious situation was addressed and assessed by the UN Security Council, and we call for concrete actions by UNHRC, UNHCR and IOM," they said.
Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia fully support Poland's actions to protect the borders and condemn the Belarusian government's actions, the three countries said.
The presidents of the three countries also expressed support for European countries, institutions and institutions in connection with the current crisis and called on the leaders of the EU and NATO countries to step up diplomatic efforts in the countries of origin of illegal migration.
13:38 GMT 15.11.2021
Council of Europe's Rights Chief Visits Poland Due to Situation on Border With Belarus
Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic arrived on Monday in Poland on a four-day visit in connection with the tense situation at the Belarusian-Polish border.
Since July, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland have reported an increase in the number of illegal migrants arriving at the border with Belarus and accused Minsk of using the migration crisis at the EU border to take revenge on the EU for sanctions over alleged violations of human rights in Belarus. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that his country would not prevent the movement of migrants toward the EU anymore, as it has neither money nor resources due to the sanctions.
In September, Poland declared a state of emergency in the regions bordering Belarus. To bolster security, the Polish authorities sent military personnel and the police to the border. Barbed wire fences are being erected at various sites.
Last week, over 2,000 refugees were stranded at the Belarusian-Polish border, including many women and children.
12:57 GMT 15.11.2021
RT France Journalists, Detained in Poland, Brought to Court, Police Say
RT France journalists, correspondent David Khalifa and cameraman Jordi Demory, were taken to the court of the Polish city of Sokolka, a police spokesman for Podlaskie Voivodeship said.
Earlier, Khalifa and Demory were detained at the Polish-Belarusian border. The police of the Podlaskie Voivodeship said that they had detained the RT France film crew for allegedly illegal presence in the emergency zone.
"They were recently sent to a court that will decide on their case," a police spokesman said.
Earlier, the editor-in-chief of RT France, Ksenia Fedorova, expressed hope that the detention of the film crew was not related to the fact that the journalists work for RT, adding that they arrived at the border with relevant IDs. Fedorova also said that journalists might not have known about the three-kilometer emergency zone at the border.
12:51 GMT 15.11.2021
European Commission Must Begin Work to Finance Border Barriers, Reform Migration Policy Without Delay, Presidents of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia Say
12:43 GMT 15.11.2021
Some 3,500 Migrants Gather at Closed Kuznica Checkpoint at Poland-Belarus Border, Polish Special Services Say
Some 3,500 migrants have gathered at the closed Kuznica checkpoint at the Polish-Belarusian border, a spokesman for Poland's special services, Stanislaw Zaryn, said on Monday.
"The massive influx of migrants towards the closed Polish border crossing point is an effect of rumours being spread recently. The rumours about the possibility of entering Poland’s territory have been authenticated by the Belarusian services," Zaryn tweeted, adding that approximately 3,500 migrants have gathered at Kuznica.
12:34 GMT 15.11.2021
We See Worsening Situation at Lithuanian Border, President of Lithuania Says
12:18 GMT 15.11.2021
Lithuania Says Important Not to Allow Planes With Migrants to Land in Belarus
The European Union must ensure that planes transporting migrants do not have the opportunity to land in Belarus, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Monday.
"We need to make sure that no planes with people with the intention to migrate should land in Belarusian airports," he told a briefing ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers.
The second priority is to address the humanitarian situation inside Belarus, which currently hosts some 10,000-20,000 migrants, Landsbergis added. To help migrants at the border return home, the EU needs to work more actively together with intentional organizations, such as the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania have accused neighboring Belarus of facilitating the movement of migrants to the EU to get back at Brussels for sanctions and urged for more preventive measures against Minsk. The latter rejects the accusations, and maintains that it is unable to tackle the transit of migrants while struggling under the weight of Western sanctions.
The situation on the border between Poland and Belarus has escalated over the past few weeks as thousands of migrants have been stranded on the Belarusian side trying to enter the EU. Poland has declared a state of emergency and boosted security in the area, while migrants have set up camps.
11:55 GMT 15.11.2021
Migrants are Setting Up Camp on Border Crossing With Poland