The Russian president has accused Polish troops on the border with Belarus of beating up refugees

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that the West, not Belarus, was the cause of the Belarusian-Polish migration crisis in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Russia is a major ally of Belarus, which the European Union has accused of promoting “mixed attacks” by flying thousands of migrants, mostly from West Asia, and forcing them to try to cross the border into Poland.

As the EU plans to impose new sanctions on Minsk, Putin told Russian state television that he thought Belarus was not responsible for the crisis. “Let’s not forget where the problems with the refugees came from … Is Belarus a pioneer in the crisis? No, the reasons were only made by Western and European countries,” Putin said.

Referring to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr Putin said Iraqi Kurds and Afghans were some of the migrants on the Belarus border.

“Belarus does not matter … what they came through Belarus is not surprising because Belarus … has visa-free visas to their countries of origin,” Putin said.

He accused Polish troops on the border with Belarus of beating up refugees, firing rounds on their heads and lighting lights and sirens at night near their refugees.

“This is not really in line with the human mindset that should follow all the principles of our western neighbors,” he said.

Mr Putin said he hoped Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel would discuss the situation, saying the migrants were keen to go to Germany.


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