The situation at the EU border is coming to a head: Merkel is on the phone with Lukashenko

The situation at the EU border is coming to a head
Merkel is on the phone with Lukashenko

Chancellor Merkel spoke to the Belarusian ruler Lukashenko for the first time in over a year. In doing so, she wants to prevent the situation on the border with Poland from escalating. The conversation also revolves around helping migrants stuck there.

Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko on the phone in view of the increasing need of several thousand migrants on the EU’s external border between Poland and Belarus. This was announced by government spokesman Steffen Seibert. The phone call was about “the difficult situation on the border between Belarus and the European Union”.

According to a report on Belarusian State Television, the conversation lasted about 50 minutes. It was discussed, for example, how an escalation of the situation at the border could be prevented. It was also about humanitarian support for the migrants stuck in the border area. According to Seibert, Merkel and Lukashenko have agreed further talks. It was the first time since the controversial presidential election in Belarus last August that Merkel had spoken to Lukashenko.

The EU no longer recognizes him as President because of the crackdown on peaceful demonstrators by the security forces. Sanctions were imposed on the country. The EU accuses Lukashenko of bringing refugees from crisis regions to the EU’s external border in an organized manner. It is suspected that he wants to avenge himself for the EU sanctions. Russian President Vladimir Putin at the weekend expressed the expectation that Merkel would start talks with Lukashenko. There are also high expectations of Germany among migrants. Putin had appealed to Merkel to seek dialogue with Lukashenko.

The foreign ministers of the EU states decided on a new sanction instrument against those involved in the smuggling of migrants to Belarus. The EU will now be able to target people and institutions who have contributed to enabling the Belarusian regime to instrumentalise people for political purposes, the Council of Member States announced.

Poland intends to start building a permanent fortification on its border with Belarus this year, Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski wrote on Twitter. Poland has already put up a temporary fence along the border. This is a barbed wire fence around 2.50 meters high. This is now to be replaced by a permanent barrier 5.5 meters high, which is equipped with motion detectors and cameras.

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