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The European Union is discussing with Belarus ways to help the stranded refugees, and Johnson warns Russia against a military adventure

The European Union and Germany confirmed talks with Belarus on aid and repatriation of asylum seekers stranded in dire conditions on Poland’s borders, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Russia against a military adventure on the borders of Ukraine and Poland.

Yesterday, Wednesday, the Belarusian authorities talked about negotiations with the European Union, in an effort to resolve the crisis of asylum seekers stranded within its territory in the midst of very cold weather.

But the European Commission clarified – in a tweet on Twitter – that it is related to technical talks on the processes of returning asylum seekers seeking to enter the European Union, in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration and Belarus.

For the second time in 3 days, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held phone conversations, during which they discussed the refugee crisis, most of whom are from countries in the Middle East.

The Belarusian presidency said that Lukashenko and Merkel agreed that “the whole problem will be raised at the level of Belarus and the European Union,” and talked about appointing officials from the two parties to start negotiations immediately.

However, Berlin stated that it is a matter of cooperation between Minsk and the European Union to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees stranded at Poland’s borders.

The European Union had accused Belarus of fabricating the asylum-seekers crisis, in response to the sanctions imposed on the regime of President Lukashenko, but Minsk denied this and accused Poland of mistreating refugees trying to enter its territory and head towards Germany and other countries in Western Europe.

In the face of European and US threats to expand sanctions against it, Minsk took some steps towards resolving the crisis, including the Belarusian airline Belavia’s announcement to prevent Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis and Afghans from boarding flights from Dubai to Belarus.

Temporary shelter to which the Belarusian authorities transferred a number of asylum seekers stranded at the border of Poland (Anatolia)

Arrests and temporary shelter

Meanwhile, the Polish Ministry of Defense announced that its forces arrested last night about 100 asylum seekers, who were trying to cross the border from Belarus.

And the French press agency quoted the ministry as saying that the Belarusian forces forced the refugees to throw stones to distract the Polish security forces, and then try to storm the border.

So far, the Polish forces deployed heavily on the borders are preventing entry to any of the stranded refugees, and the past days have witnessed confrontations between the two sides.

And Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak expected – yesterday, Wednesday – that the crisis will continue for months and perhaps more years.

Poland – along with Lithuania and Latvia, which are also neighboring to Belarus – refuse to receive the refugees currently crowded on the Polish border.

Meanwhile, the Belarusian authorities said that about 2,000 asylum seekers are still scattered in the border area with Poland.

The Belarusian authorities had transferred 1,000 of them to a temporary shelter near the border, and some asylum seekers said the authorities had promised them not to forcibly return them to their countries.

On the other hand, the suffering of more than two thousand asylum seekers continues because they remain in the open near the border fence between Belarus and Poland, amid a great shortage of supplies and medicines, and in harsh climatic conditions, these refugees are still waiting for a solution to their crisis that has been going on for nearly two weeks.

Today, an Iraqi plane is supposed to arrive in Minsk to return 200 Iraqi asylum seekers who are in Belarus.

British warning

In the midst of the asylum-seekers crisis, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Russia’s military adventure on the borders of Ukraine and Poland would be a “tragic mistake”.

“I think it would be a tragic mistake for the Kremlin to think that gains can be made through a military adventure,” Johnson told a panel of British lawmakers.

“What we have to do is ensure that everyone understands that the cost of miscalculation at the borders of both Poland and Ukraine will be enormous,” he added.

The British Prime Minister’s comments came amid growing concerns in the West about the military movements of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border.

Moscow is accused of supporting a scheme aimed at creating a migrant crisis, by opening the way for them to cross from Belarus to Poland.

Thousands of soldiers were deployed on both sides of the Polish-Belarus border, and later Belarus conducted joint military exercises with Russian paratroopers.

In parallel, Moscow has been accused of having in recent days deployed additional forces to the Ukrainian border, where the situation remains tense since the start of a military conflict between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in 2014.

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Reference-www.aljazeera.net

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