World Putin observes war games with Belarus that worry neighbors
Poland plans fence on Belarus border, offers aid to migrants
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland plans to build a fence along its border with Belarus and deploy more soldiers there to stop migrants seeking to enter the European Union nation. The government on Monday also offered to send humanitarian aid to a migrant group stuck at the border for more than two weeks. Poland and the three Baltic states — Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia — accuse Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of sending migrants across their borders, which also form part of the EU's eastern border, in what they call a “hybrid war.” The migrants are mostly from Afghanistan and Iraq.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has observed military exercises being conducted in coordination with Belarus that have raised concerns in bordering countries.
Putin on Monday attended exercises at a training ground in the Nizhny Novgorod region, 450 kilometers (275 miles) east of Moscow. The exercises included what the Defense Ministry said was the first use in a combat environment of two new robotic fighting vehicles that are equipped with machine guns and grenade launchers.
Polish PM points to Russia amid standoff at Belarus border
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's prime minister told parliament Monday that the country faces a threat from Russia and Belarus as he sought support for a state of emergency declared in areas along the border with Belarus last week amid migration pressure. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki spoke in parliament before lawmakers were due to vote on whether to approve the state of emergency that was declared last week by the president — a step unprecedented in the country's post-communist history.
The Zapad (West)-2021 exercises being conducted at several sites in Russia and Belarus involve about 200,000 soldiers in total, including troops from Armenia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia.
The foreign ministers of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia on Monday expressed concerns about the maneuvers, saying Russia has not been transparent about them and noting they come amid heightened Western tensions with Belarus.
How Putin is embracing authoritarianism as state elections loom
If you were to ask the Kremlin, Alexei Navalny is currently an involuntary resident of Corrective Colony No. 2 in Vladimir Oblast because he violated the terms of his parole stemming from a 2014 conviction for fraud and money laundering. © Provided by Washington Examiner Laughably missing from this explanation is the fact that when Navalny failed to attend court-ordered bi-monthly meetings with Russian officials from Sept. to Dec. 2021, the staunch Putin critic and anti-corruption activist was hospitalized in Berlin. He was recovering from a Kremlin assassination attempt that involved the deadly nerve agent Novichok.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov brushed off those concerns, saying that “joint military exercises are a regular process.”
Video: Russia-Belarus war games send signal to the West (Reuters)
Merkel calls migrant push at EU's border 'unacceptable'
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday that she found it unacceptable that refugees were being used to apply pressure to Poland and other European Union members on the border with Belarus. Speaking at a news conference during what she said she expected to be her last official visit to Poland as chancellor, Merkel appealed to Belarus, but also to Poland, to help people in difficult humanitarian conditions caught between the border of Poland and Belarus.
The exercises opened last week on the same day that Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko met and announced new moves to integrate their countries' economies.
Russian support for Belarus worries neighboring countries, who claim that Belarus is trying to destabilize them by encourage migrants from the Mideast and Africa to come and then allegedly shepherding them to its borders with the European Union nations of Lithuania, Latvia and Poland.
Loukachenko praises the Russo-Belarusian military maneuvers
© provided by AFP military exercises Russia-Belarus in Russia President Belarusse Alexandre Loukachenko saluted Sunday major military maneuvers Russo-Belarusses and announced the intention of Minsk to acquire Russian weapons for $ 1 billion. © Maxim Guchek President Alexander Loukachenko Meeting soldiers during military maneuvers Russo-Belarusses, September 12, 2021 near Brest, at Belarus Mr.
The migrants problem arose after Western countries imposed sanctions on Belarus for its harsh repression of opposition and its crackdown on independent news media in the wake of enormous protests against Lukashenko last year.
The protests began when Lukashenko was awarded a sixth term in office after a presidential election that the West and opposition members said was a sham.
Follow all AP stories about developments in Belarus at
Belarus accused of 'weaponizing' migrants at the EU’s border: Here’s what you need to know .
Lithuania, Latvia and Poland have accused Belarus of flying in migrants from the Middle East to then send across their borders. This is a "real headache for the EU," Bob Deen, senior research fellow at the think tank Clingendael, told CNBC. He added that the Belarus regime "is exploiting a weakness of the EU and weaponizing refugees."Why is this a headache?Migration is a weak point in European policymaking.