Monday 15 November 2021
The Kremlin is interfering
Putin offers to mediate between Belarus and the European Union
Until a few days ago, Russia wanted to stay out of the Belarus conflict. President Putin is now declaring his readiness to mediate between the European Union and Minsk. Belarusian governor Lukashenko has been accused of smuggling migrants into the European Union as a means of pressure.
In the crisis involving thousands of migrants at the Polish-Belarus border, Russia has presented itself as a mediator between Belarus and the European Union. Asked how Moscow could help, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to Interfax: “Only in this case as a negotiator.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously offered to help, but he hasn’t said how it would look concretely. The Kremlin chief also expressed hope for a conversation between current Chancellor Angela Merkel and authoritarian Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko.
Just last week, Putin refused a request from Chancellor Angela Merkel to influence Belarus. The President of the European Union Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also called on Putin to use his influence on the Belarusian head of state Alexander Lukashenko. Von der Leyen said in a greeting video at the “SZ Economic Summit” in Berlin that Putin “without a doubt” had that influence.
“I think it’s very important that he exerts that effect now, as the next few days will show.” Lukashenko’s approach “left”. Therefore, the fifth round of EU sanctions is the logical result. “We are closed and we are fast.” This also affects airlines that are involved in transporting refugees.
The Russian head of state has a direct line with Lukashenko, whom the European Union accuses of taking people from crisis regions to Belarus in order to then smuggle them to Europe. Lukashenko, often criticized as the “last dictator in Europe”, supposedly uses immigrants as leverage to force dialogue on the West. Lukashenko has not been recognized by the European Union as president since last year’s presidential election, which was deemed rigged.