Russia, Western nations row against UN over migrant crisis in Belarus

UNITED NATIONS, November 11 (Reuters) – Russia on Thursday traded barriers with Western members of the UN Security Council over a crisis on the border between Belarus and Poland, in which Russia’s UN envoy suggests his European counterparts have “masochistic inclinations”.

Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, the United States and the United Kingdom raised the migrant crisis during a closed-door meeting of the 15-member body.

“We condemn the orchestrated instrumentalisation of people whose lives and well-being have been jeopardized for political purposes by Belarus, with the aim of destabilizing neighboring countries and the EU’s external border and diverting attention away from its own growing human rights violations.” they said in a statement.

They described the Belarussian approach as “unacceptable” and accused President Alexander Lukashenko of becoming a threat to regional stability, calling for a “strong international response” to hold Belarus accountable, promising “to discuss further measures we can take. “

Electric poles are seen in the morning near the road connecting the border village of Bialowieza to Hajnowka during the migrant crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border near Hajnowka, Poland, November 11, 2021. REUTERS / Kacper Pempel

The EU says Belarus is urging thousands fleeing war-torn parts of the world to try to cross into Poland and other neighboring countries in retaliation for EU sanctions.

Belarus has warned that the crisis could escalate into a military confrontation, while Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia said Belarus posed a serious threat to European security.

Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy, told reporters ahead of the Council meeting that he believed his Western Council colleagues “have a kind of masochistic inclination because it would be raising this issue, which is a total disgrace to the EU, before us. very brave. “

When asked if Russia or Belarus helped move the migrants to the Polish border, Polyanskiy said: “No, absolutely not.” He added that not all issues should be resolved by the Security Council. Russia is a veto power in the Council, so it can protect Belarus from any possible attempt to impose UN sanctions.

Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, the United States and the United Kingdom said: “We will remain united and determined to protect the EU from these hybrid operations by the Belarussian authorities.”

Reporting by Michelle Nichols Editing by Alistair Bell

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