President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko and his Russian counterpart and main ally Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation on the border between Belarus and Poland, the Kremlin announced today, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov could provide financial assistance to Belarus to encourage it to prevent migrants from crossing into European territory.
According to a Kremlin statement, Putin and Lukashenko had “an exchange of views on the situation of refugees, while for the same conversation the Belarusian news agency Belta reported that the two leaders expressed concern about the presence of Polish troops on the Belarusian-Polish border.
During the conversation, “the tough actions of the Polish side against civilians were discussed”, while also “it was underlined that the concentration of regular Polish troops at the border is of particular concern”, Belta reported.
In addition, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the European Union must be consistent in the way it treats third countries, which are used by immigrants to enter the EU.
The Russian minister was referring to the 2016 agreement, under which the EU offered funds to Turkey, which in turn promised to accept back migrants and refugees who crossed the Aegean and crossed into Greece illegally.
Lavrov said the EU could do the same with Belarus.
Countries from which refugees enter the EU “should be treated in the same way,” Lavrov said.
“Yesterday, during some political discussions, experts said: why, when refugees come from Turkey, does the EU provide funding to keep them in the Turkish Republic? “Why is it not possible to help the Belarusians in the same way?” Lavrov said.
It is not clear what political debates Lavrov was referring to.
The Russian minister made the remarks at a news conference in Moscow with Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican's foreign minister.