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US urges Russia to press Belarus over migrants at Polish border: spokeswoman

16.11.2021 11:30
The United States has called on Russia to use its influence over Belarus "to cease its callous exploitation and coercion of vulnerable people," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki has said amid a deepening migrant crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border.
Jen Psaki
Jen PsakiPAP/EPA/Stefani Reynolds/POOL

"We continue to work in close contact — or stay in close contact, I should say, with our EU partners and other allies who are working to hold the Lukashenko regime accountable for its ongoing attack and that includes preparing follow-up sanctions in close coordination with them," Psaki told reporters on Monday

"We are still calling on Russia and encouraging them directly to use its influence to press the Lukashenko regime to cease its callous exploitation and coercion of vulnerable people," she said.

"There’s no question they have that relationship and that ability to impact," she added.

The European Union agreed on Monday to step up sanctions against Belarus, which it says is pushing migrants toward the bloc in revenge for earlier sanctions over a crackdown on protests last year against strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko's contested re-election, the Reuters news agency reported.

US State Secretary Antony Blinken at the weekend reaffirmed America's support for Poland amid the migrant crisis on the EU member's border with Belarus.

The United States and European members of the UN Security Council last week condemned Belarus for the “orchestrated instrumentalization" of migrants as tensions rose along the Polish-Belarusian border.

The Polish prime minister has said that NATO must take steps to help resolve the crisis on the Belarus border, adding that Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania and Latvia may ask for consultations under Article 4 of the alliance's treaty.

Polish lawmakers were on Tuesday set to debate legislation to strengthen the country's frontiers amid rising tensions on the border with Belarus.


Source: PAPwhitehouse.gov, Reuters