German chancellor asks for Russian mediation in eastern migrant crisis

Filip Singer/PAP/EPA

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for mediation in a mounting migrant crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border.

In a Wednesday telephone conversation with Putin, Merkel asked him to mediate in the crisis, in which Belarus's Alexander Lukashenko regime has been pushing Middle Eastern migrants into Poland across both countries' common border.

The several-month crisis, which Poland blames on Lukashenko's plans to destabilise the EU in retaliation for sanctions imposed earlier by Brussels, escalated this week when migrants launched mass attempts to force the Polish border, leading to skirmishes with Polish border guards.

Merkel appealed to Putin to convince Lukashenko to stop sending migrants to the Polish border, and called their employment by Belarus as a weapon against the EU "inhuman" and "unacceptable."

Earlier on Wednesday German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas threatened Lukashenko with extended sanctions over the border crisis. Maas said the EU "will not be blackmailed" in the matter.