President Biden on Friday said the refugee crisis on the Belarus-Poland border is “of great concern” and that the US has communicated its displeasure to Belarus and Russia.
Hundreds of asylum seekers from countries such as Afghanistan have been stranded at the Polish border for weeks as the NATO ally refuses to allow them to transit through Poland en route to Germany — claiming Belarus has weaponized the refugees.
“It’s of great concern. We’ve communicated our concern to Russia. We’ve communicated our concern to Belarus. We think it’s a problem,” Biden told a Polish radio reporter on the White House lawn as he departed for a weekend stay at Camp David.
The comments were his first publicly on the emerging crisis.
Russia is an important ally to Belarus, which is commonly known as the last dictatorship in Europe.
The European Union, which generally accepts asylum seekers, has vowed new sanctions against Belarus, accusing its authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko of “gangster-style” tactics.
At least seven migrants have died in the freezing weather in forests along the border, as Belarus refuses to accept them back after encouraging them to attempt to enter Poland.
Polish President Andrzej Duda said this week, “The Belarusian regime is attacking the Polish border, the EU, in an unparalleled manner.”