Macron, Putin agree on ‘de-escalation’ of Belarus/Poland crisis: France


French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on Monday that tensions on the Poland-Belarus border where migrants have been massing had to be de-escalated, Macron’s office said.

Tensions have soared since last week as coordinated efforts by migrants to cross from Belarus into EU member Poland were thwarted by Polish border guards.

After a telephone conversation lasting one hour and 45 minutes between Macron and Putin, the Elysee palace said that “it is our hope that this long conversation will yield results in the coming days”.

Putin promised Macron that “he will raise the topic” with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, the Elysee said.

Putin on Saturday denied claims Moscow is helping to orchestrate the crisis that has left hundreds of migrants from the Middle East trapped on the Belarus-Poland border.

The European Union meanwhile vowed Monday to press ahead with sanctions targeting the regime of Lukashenko.

Meanwhile, Lukashenko held a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, Belarusian state media said.

Citing a Telegram channel close to the Belarusian presidency, the Belta state news agency said the two leaders spoke for around an hour.

It is Lukashenko’s first phone call with a Western leader since he suppressed mass anti-government protests against him last summer.

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