Kremlin says Russia could mediate between Europe, Belarus

Moscow urges Minsk to refrain from taking 'emotional decisions' on cutting gas transit to Europe.

Kremlin says Russia could mediate between Europe, Belarus

Russia could step in as a mediator to help resolve the border migrant crisis between Belarus and the EU, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

Speaking at a daily briefing in Moscow, Peskov recalled that Russian President Vladimir Putin already held a series of phone talks regarding the issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Putin's remarks about possibility of direct contacts came after phone talks with German and Belarusian leaders, Peskov said.

Asked about the statement by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who accused Lukashenko of unleashing migrant crisis in order to distract attention "from Russia's activities on the border with Ukraine," Peskov said Blinken "wrongly interpreted" the situation at the Belarus-Poland border.

Russia has nothing to do with the crisis as well as the Belarusian president, the spokesman stressed.

"Migrants arrive there (in Belarus) using the visa-free regime to further get asylum in Europe. But they are not granted it (asylum), they are not allowed to go there (to Europe)," Peskov said.

The spokesman regretted that "no one (in the US and EU) mentions ideals of humanism, fates of thousands of refugees who have been living on the border for almost a week under harsh weather conditions."

"Therefore, the (US) statement is fundamentally wrong, and we do not agree with it," he said.

As for the threats by Lukashenko about possible cut of gas transit from Russia to Europe through Belarus, Peskov said Moscow hopes the Belarusian president will refrain from taking "emotional decisions."

Earlier, Putin said any Belarusian move to cut gas transit "would not contribute to the development of Russian relations with Belarus as a transit country."

He also promised to talk to Lukashenko about this issue.

Hüseyin Demir

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