Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Ms Truss issued an attack against the Kremlin, stating Britain must act as Belarus used “desperate migrants as pawns” in “a carefully crafted crisis”. Maria Zakharova, Russia’s foreign ministry spokesman, unleashed a furious tirade in response to Ms Truss’ demands that Moscow intervenes.
“The British invasion of Iraq was ‘carefully crafted,’” Ms Zakharova said.
“Britain bears a clear historical responsibility for everything that has happened in the region since – the deaths of Iraqis, the destruction of Iraqi statehood, the endless flows of refugees, the emergence of ISIS, the humanitarian disasters in this part of the world.
“Until London is held accountable for its crimes, its representatives have no right to point the finger at anyone.”
The UK’s Forign Secretary’s comments came after Western members of the UN Security Council stepped in and condemned Belarus for the increasingly worrying migrant crisis on the border with Poland.
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In a statement, nation leaders accused Belarus of using the migrants to destabilise the European Union’s eastern border.
At Thursday’s emergency UN Security Council meeting, Western member states issued a joint statement, accusing Belarus of putting migrants’ lives in danger “for political purposes”.
“There are a lot of cases when Polish and Lithuanian border guards beat migrants and pushed them back to Belarusian territory,” Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russian deputy ambassador to the UN, said.
“I would say that this is total shame and a total violation of any possible international conventions and rules.”
In recent weeks, at least seven people have died, many from hypothermia, and as temperatures fall to freezing, the situation is growing increasingly worrying.
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Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s Prime Minister, appealed to NATO to take action earlier this week.
“It is not enough just for us to publicly express our concern – now we need concrete steps and the commitment of the entire alliance,” Poland’s Prime Minister told Polish news agency PAP.
However, in retaliation to the demands from the West, Belarus’s leader Alexander Lukashenko warned EU leaders he would respond to any sanctions imposed.
“We are heating Europe, and they are threatening us,” he said, referring to a Russian gas pipeline that runs through Belarus and into the EU.
“And what if we halt natural gas supplies?
“Therefore, I would recommend the leadership of Poland, Lithuanians and other empty-headed people to think before speaking.”