The President of Belarus said that he could ask Putin to place nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory if the United States places them in Eastern Europe. In 1993 Minsk became a party to the Nonproliferation Treaty
Belarus will offer Russia to place nuclear weapons on its territory if such systems are deployed in Poland, said Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
In an interview with RIA Novosti Lukashenko suggested that if Germany refuses to deploy American nuclear weapons, weapons will be transported to Poland.
“ They will be transported to Poland. Yes. Then I will propose to Putin to return nuclear weapons to Belarus. & lt; & hellip; & gt; We will agree on which one. The nuclear weapons that will be most effective in such a contact, '' & mdash; said Lukashenko.
He added that there are opportunities for the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons on the territory of his country. “ We are ready for this on the territory of Belarus. I, as a zealous owner, did not destroy anything. All the sheds are in place & raquo;, & mdash; added the Belarusian president.
RBC sent a request to the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov.
On November 19, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that American nuclear weapons deployed in Europe could end up in Eastern European countries if Germany refuses to deploy them. The secretary general stressed that he expects to continue partnership with Germany within the framework of the agreement on the joint use of nuclear weapons. According to this document, signed in 1991, Germany will abandon the production and use of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in exchange for deploying a nuclear arsenal of NATO countries in the west of the country.
Belarus abandoned the deployment of nuclear weapons after the collapse of the USSR and joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1993 as a non-nuclear state. Fully nuclear weapons were withdrawn from the territory of Belarus by November 1996, a total of 584 intermediate and shorter-range missiles were removed from the country and destroyed at test sites in the states of the former USSR.
The website of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry says that the republic is “ ready '' develop and strengthen the mechanisms of the NPT, increase its effectiveness and contribute to the achievement of consensus results of the tenth Review Conference, which is scheduled to be held in New York in January & mdash; February 2022.
In 2010, Lukashenko said that he considered a mistake withdrawal of nuclear weapons.
“ Withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Belarus on the terms that were carried out by our nationalists was a cruel mistake. & lt; & hellip; & gt; I had to sign this agreement, because there was nowhere to go: both Russia and the Americans pressed on me & mdash; withdraw, because you promised. It was impossible, this is the greatest property, this is an expensive commodity, which in the end we had to decently sell '', & mdash; the president is quoted by the Belarusian state agency BelTA.
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A body in a sack with cans of stew was found at the border
The bodies of migrants mysteriously appear on the Belarusian-Lithuanian border. The next, already the sixth, body was found by the Belarusian border guards on November 28. In Minsk, they believe that the bodies are thrown at them by Lithuanians. In Vilnius, the accusations are called absurdity and disinformation.
The man's body lay in a forest belt on the border with Lithuania. According to the Belarusian border department, the migrant was loaded into a sleeping bag, thrown across the border and dragged several meters ahead. Among the belongings, two cans of stewed meat with Lithuanian markings were found. As MK found out, one of the Skubantiems canned food is stewed pork. Another can is beef stew. The cost of each is about 1.5 euros. The man had no identification documents with him.
According to the website of the border department, the deceased person was beaten and exhausted. There they declared the involvement of Lithuanian colleagues in this death, noting that this is already “the sixth victim of the cynical and inhuman policy pursued by Lithuania and Poland towards people” who are in a vulnerable position. In Vilnius, the accusations were categorically denied, saying that “such reports from the neighboring country are interpreted as absurd.” And they recalled that the Belarusian security forces had already tried to stage the beating of migrants.
“MK” turned to one of the leading forensic experts of Russia, Eduard Tumanov, with a request to assess the reliability of the video presented by the Belarusian side from the scene. “I can say that this is really a human body, not a mannequin. This is visible for a split second, and then the video is artificially blurred. There are also traces that can be regarded as traces of dragging. Whether they lead from the border or to it is on the conscience of the authors of the video, “he explained.
If we take everything described by the Belarusian security forces on faith, it is not at all clear why Lithuania is throwing the bodies of migrants to Belarus. It is also not clear why Minsk would need the corpse, whose authorities promised to help migrants and assist in their efforts to get to the EU or back home.
The opinions of political scientists interviewed by MK differed on this issue. Belarusian political scientist Valery Karbalevich noted that it would be very difficult to find out the reasons for this and past tragedies. “I admit it could have been a natural death. It is cold now, people are in difficult conditions. Possibly nutritional problems. Therefore, this is not necessarily a murder, but, perhaps, the natural death of a person who is in extreme conditions, “the expert admitted.
In turn, the former editor of Baltnews Anatoly Ivanov found it difficult to answer why the Lithuanian border guards should be involved in the transfer of bodies, but he is sure that anything can happen at the border. “Do you know what migrants are called in Lithuania? Black cockroaches. That says it all. One less refugee, one more – it doesn't matter. Sheer cynicism, ”Ivanov explained. Note that if such an offensive name is used, it is not universally. Several Russian-speaking residents of Lithuania told MK that they had not heard such an expression in their entourage.
Even if the Lithuanian authorities handed two cans of stewed meat to a living migrant and sent him back to Belarusians, there are no EU sanctions for these actions will not follow. As Ivanov explained, no one will understand this situation, since Belarus is called the culprit of the situation. Secondly, no measures were taken in 2015 against Italy, Croatia or Greece, which means that they will not follow now.
Thousands of migrants are now in Belarus. Even the president of the country, Alexander Lukashenko, could not give an exact figure, but suggested that it was about 4-5 thousand people. Some of them are located in the logistics center in the Grodno region, the rest are scattered throughout the country. About 1,900 more people decided to return to their homeland. On Wednesday, the European Union is preparing to present the fifth package of sanctions against Minsk. It is not clear whether he will help in resolving the migration crisis, but until then we can only hope that there will be no new victims.
It involves police officers, National Guard soldiers, and the military. Checkpoints will be set up in the border areas, checks will begin at railway stations
The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine together with the police, the National Guard, the country's armed forces and “ other involved reserves '' conducts a special operation on the border with Belarus. The border service announced this on the Facebook page.
The stated purpose of the operation & mdash; to strengthen the protection of the Ukrainian border, “ in order to prevent a migration crisis. ''
The details of the special operation are few in the message. The border service announced that control posts will be set up on the roads. There will be patrols on the paths leading to the border. Checks will be carried out at bus and train stations.
“ In border protection, aviation, unmanned aerial systems, as well as technical means of observation will be actively used for patrolling and monitoring, '' & mdash; the message also says. On possible directions of the “ breakthrough of migrants '' will build up “ forces and means '' from the Ukrainian side.
“ A significant strengthening of the border regime along the Ukrainian-Belarusian section of the state border is envisaged. Control posts on highways will be set up within the controlled border areas. The main routes leading to the border will be patrolled, bus and train stations will be checked, '' & mdash; specified in the border service.
Columns of migrants, mainly Kurds from Iraq and Syria, arrived at the border with Poland from Belarus on November 8. This was followed by several attempts to break through the barriers.
On November 10, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Yevgeniy Yenin said that neighboring countries want to arrange in Ukraine the same migration crisis as in Belarus. “ Neighboring states are resorting to hybrid technologies to increase refugee flows, primarily in the border regions of Ukraine, in order to destabilize the socio-political situation. This is a shameful attempt to arrange a migration crisis in Ukraine '', & mdash; he said.
According to Yenin, two citizens of Cuba who were planning to get to Ukraine from the territory of Belarus and then head to Poland were detained at the section of the Belarusian-Ukrainian border. In addition, he noted that the country's operational units monitor the situation on the borders of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus, as well as monitor the situation, including among persons who may contribute to the organization of such migration channels. Then the Kiev authorities announced the strengthening of the protection of the border with Belarus.
The Ukrainian side began to strengthen the force group on the border with Belarus on November 11. According to the Minister of Internal Affairs of the country Denis Monastyrsky, an additional 8.5 thousand military personnel and police were sent to the border areas, their mobility will be ensured by 15 helicopters. The decision to deploy additional units was made by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.
Special forces have already repeatedly held exercises at the border with Belarus to prevent migrants from breaking through the border.
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Army convoy caught on video
NATO continues to build up its force in Eastern Europe. Large formations of the US Army are moving from Germany through Poland towards the east. Eyewitnesses report that military equipment is being concentrated near the border of Poland with Belarus. Tanks and heavy artillery were seen in the army columns. “MK” suggested where the formations of the US army and its allies are sent and how this is connected with the recent aggravation of relations between Belarus and the EU.
Another train with NATO military equipment proceeded through Poland towards the east. As MK previously reported, the Bundeswehr formations began redeploying troops closer to the border with Belarus. On Wednesday, November 24, a new video appeared, taken at the Legnica station in southern Poland. Eyewitnesses removed a train with military equipment that passed through the local railway junction.
As part of the troops being transferred from Germany to Eastern Europe, experts identified large-caliber self-propelled artillery pieces “ Palladin '' American production, as well as & ndash; charging machines. The artillery most likely belongs to one of the units of the US Army stationed in Germany. & Nbsp;
Local media suggest several routes the train could have followed. Some say that the train is sent to one of the landfills near the border of Poland and Ukraine, others & ndash; that troops are being transferred to the border with Belarus.
Earlier, the EU and NATO condemned the government of Belarus for “ using hybrid methods of pressure '' to Poland. Brussels condemns the actions of the Belarusian authorities, which, in their opinion, led to the next migration crisis at the borders of the European Union. Thousands of people are trying to break into Polish territory, which is why the local authorities had to pull troops to the border.
As explained in an interview with MK. military expert Alexander Mikhailovsky, the redeployment of American troops in the winter is not typical for the US army. The real purpose of the transfer of NATO troops to Eastern Europe is most likely another attempt to exacerbate the situation in Ukraine.
– All stories about the migrant crisis & ndash; this is, excuse me, in favor of the poor. Several thousand migrants have accumulated there. Why transfer tanks and large-caliber artillery for this? This is another pretext for building up the contingent in Eastern Europe and the Baltics. By the way, if this video was filmed somewhere in northern Poland, I would say that armored vehicles are going to the exercises in the Baltic States. But Legnica is located to the south, and this is alarming. If you go further east & ndash; then it's straight to the border with Ukraine.
The Polish city of Legnica. Photo: Still from video
– I think we will find out after some time. Most likely, the United States is sending troops to reinforce the NATO contingent near the border with Ukraine. Even under Trump, there was talk about the creation in Poland of a large military base for 20 thousand troops, which was proposed to be called “ Fort Trump. '' No one has given up on plans to move troops east at the Pentagon. This means that the troops will move further and further, closer and closer to us. In case they want to cross the border with Ukraine & hellip; Do not know. Until recently, I would say that they would not be solved.
– There are not such great distances. If the troops are stationed in the conditional Lublin, then it will be almost the same for them as to Lvov as to Brest. The question is, for how long have they arrived. If forever, then we can safely say that another slow “ offensive '' NATO East has officially begun.
The European Union will not negotiate with Minsk about the fate of migrants, since the crisis was created by Lukashenka and he himself must resolve it, the press secretary of the European Commission Peter Stano told RBC. Only technical negotiations are possible
The European Union does not intend to negotiate with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on the further fate of migrants who are on the border with Poland, European Commission spokesman Peter Stano told RBC.
“ There are no negotiations with the Lukashenka regime. He created this crisis, he brought these people to Belarus, lying to them that they could easily get into the EU, and they are on the territory of Belarus. He is not only responsible [for] taking care of these people and resolving the crisis, but also for providing access to international organizations to help those in need and permitting the repatriation of the people he has brought into the country, '', & mdash; said Stano. “ So there is no talk of negotiations with the Lukashenka regime. What we will do is conduct technical negotiations with UN agencies (Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration) and Belarusian colleagues at the working level to facilitate the repatriation of people currently being held by Belarusian security forces in Belarus. This work is in progress & raquo;, & mdash; he added.
The fact that the problem of refugees will be brought to the level of Belarus and the EU and officials from both sides will be appointed to resolve the existing problems, the press service of the President of Belarus announced on the evening of November 17 following his second telephone conversation since the beginning of the week with the Acting Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel. On Thursday afternoon, November 18, the press secretary of the President of Belarus, Natalya Eismont, announced that the EU had not complied with the agreements on resolving the crisis with migrants.
“We keep our promises. Despite the fact that on the part of the European Union not a single obligation has yet been fulfilled, '', & mdash; Eismont was quoted by the state agency BelTA. She added that following a conversation between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Lukashenko, an agreement was reached on Wednesday to initiate negotiations at the expert level.
There are other disagreements as to the essence of the agreements. According to Eismont, even during the first telephone conversation between the two leaders, Lukashenka suggested that the EU create a humanitarian corridor for 2,000 migrants in a camp near the Polish border. “ We undertake to facilitate (as far as possible and if they wish) the remaining 5 thousand to return to their homeland. And Angela Merkel, according to the agreements, will negotiate with the EU, including on the organization of a humanitarian corridor to Germany, '', & mdash; added Eismont. At the same time, Reuters, citing a source in the German government, reported that Merkel did not agree to a deal on migrants with Lukashenka. 'Situation at the border' it is a European problem in which Germany is not acting alone ', & mdash; said the interlocutor.
“ This is not a migration crisis. This is an artificially created problem, orchestrated by the Lukashenka regime, with negative humanitarian consequences for residents of third countries '', & mdash; stressed Stano. According to him, the Belarusian regime lured people from third countries with false promises that they would easily get into the European Union. Then these people were taken from Minsk to the border with the EU under the escort of the Belarusian security forces and forced to make an attempt to illegally enter the territory of the European Union; if the migrants did not manage to get into the EU, the Belarusian authorities did not allow them to return back to the country and were “ held by force at the border in harsh conditions, '' the EC press secretary emphasized. Some migrants at the border told RBC that they independently paid intermediary firms up to $ 4,000 for organizing a trip to the border of Belarus with the European Union, they got to the border by taxi, and sometimes on foot.
According to Eismont, in total there are about 7 thousand people in Belarus, whose purpose is & mdash; to be in the European Union. They have no documents for legal border crossing, so they are trying to break through the border with Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. On Thursday, an evacuation flight took off from Minsk to Baghdad, which sent home about 400 people who could not break through the border.
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Great Britain is also sending its military to the Polish-Belarusian border
Poland has begun to transfer its anti-aircraft missile systems to the border with Belarus. This is evidenced by the video with the movement of the military convoy, which is published by the Telegram channel “BelTA”.
The authors of the channels suggested that the video demonstrates the equipment of the 8th Air Defense Regiment of the 12th Mechanized Division of the Polish Armed Forces.
The footage shows how tractors are transporting military equipment. The column included missile systems “Kub” and “Wasp”, as well as special equipment.
The recording was presumably made in the area of the Polish city of Neporent, which is located about a hundred kilometers from the Belarusian border.
Today it became known that Great Britain will send a company of engineering troops to the Polish-Belarusian border. This was stated by the Minister of National Defense of Poland, Mariusz Blaszczak, after a meeting with British counterpart Ben Wallace.
It is assumed that British sappers, together with the Polish military, will be engaged in the restoration of border fences that were damaged by Middle Eastern migrants from Belarus. p>
The migration crisis on the border of Belarus and Poland has been going on for almost two weeks. Several thousand people from the Middle East have accumulated here, which are trying to get into the European Union. Migrants have repeatedly attempted to force their way into Poland.
Polish border guards respond with tear gas and water cannons. Also, the authorities of the country and neighboring Lithuania have introduced a state of emergency in the regions bordering with Belarus.
The political scientist explained how official refugees are registered in Minsk
Migrants are gradually leaving the spontaneous camp on the Belarusian-Polish border. About 450 people are awaiting departure to Iraq at the Minsk airport today. Others went to a logistics center in the Grodno region to await Poland's decision there. Some illegal immigrants say that they have abandoned their idea of getting to Europe altogether and now intend to stay in Belarus. Political scientist Artem Agafonov said what conditions Belarus can provide them.
– The topic of migrants is now quite popular in Belarus, so it will be difficult for the authorities to deny asylum to people if they want to. A lot of positive things were said about migrants: that they suffer and so on. Therefore, it will be something like a loss of face.
– Belarus, unlike Germany or Poland, gives very low social guarantees when granting refugee status. Therefore, very few people here want to get this status.
The point is that we have two payments for refugees. The first occurs at the moment when a person applies for refugee status, and this amount is 58 Belarusian rubles, or about 12 dollars. Then, at the moment of receiving refugee status, the amount grows two and a half times – up to 145 Belarusian rubles, that is, about 60 dollars. But these are lump sum payments.
There are practically no social guarantees. Moreover, it will be very difficult for a person who has a poor command of Russian or Belarusian and does not have sufficient connections to settle in Belarus and get a decent standard of living here. Of course, if he is a unique specialist, then yes. Otherwise, it's tricky.
– In my opinion, they do not exist, because Belarus did not face a massive influx of refugees. However, there are two refugee camps in the country – along the western border of Grodno and Brest regions. The current situation has developed for the first time, and solving this problem will become a new experience for the Belarusian authorities and a new experience for the Belarusians themselves, who do not always have a positive attitude to the influx of refugees.
Until now, the absence of massive crowds of migrants has been the trump card of the Belarusian authorities. We always said: “Look, in Russia, in Moscow, there are crowds of migrants, a lot of migrants in Europe, but we do not have this problem.” Now it is, and not everyone will be happy with this situation. Therefore, this will also be a blow to the popularity of the authorities.
– If someone wants to stay, they will most likely be accepted. But the question is: how long will this person stay here? I do not exclude the possibility that this will be another propaganda step. Like, look, Belarus is so hospitable. We accepted unfortunate migrants whom Europe refused to accept. But how many people will eventually live in Belarus, say, a year after these events – a big question.
Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin said that Minsk does not yet consider it necessary to deploy Russian military bases in the country, despite the activation of NATO on the western border. He said this on the air of the TV channel & nbsp; Al Jazeera, a fragment of the interview & nbsp; was published by the press service of the defense ministry.
“ Why do we need them [Russian bases] here? We have a Union State, a regional grouping of troops, which includes the entire army of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus and part of the forces and assets of the Russian Federation, which, according to our calculations, are quite enough, & ndash; Khrenin noted. & ndash; If necessary, Russia is very close by. They will all be on our territory. ''
The minister noted that Moscow and Minsk have developed a different mechanism of interaction. “ We train our armed forces in the centers, training and combat centers, where joint duty is organized. We study technique, new technique, study experience, share our experience somewhere. & lt; … & gt; If necessary, then, as the president [of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko] said, at least the entire Russian army will be here. Because we do not want war, any problems, but we will stand firm for our land and will not allow anyone to dictate or talk to us from a position of strength. We are a proud small Belarusian people '', & ndash; said the head of the Ministry of Defense.
He added that Belarus would like to have its own divisions of Iskander tactical missile systems, but if necessary, & nbsp; several Russian divisions will arrive in the republic.
Earlier in Warsaw it was reported that NATO is offering assistance to Poland in the migration crisis. They talked about a political settlement of the situation and support of the Polish security forces on the Polish-Belarusian border.
Lukashenko also said that he would talk with Putin about the migration crisis and, if necessary, would ask his Russian counterpart to provide assistance.
Makei and Borrell held talks against the backdrop of a worsening refugee crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border. The Council of the European Union will soon discuss new sanctions against Minsk. Belarus noted that the approach of restrictions is counterproductive brought to the interlocutor information about the steps taken by Belarus to reduce the flow of migrants from Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the provision of humanitarian assistance to refugees at the border, interaction on this issue with the relevant international organizations of the UN system, '', & mdash; said in the message of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus.
The parties confirmed their interest in an early settlement of the migration crisis and agreed to maintain open channels for dialogue.
Makei noted that Belarus is ready for an 'equal and mutually respectful dialogue' with the EU. In addition, during the talks, the sides stressed the “ futility of sanctions and the counterproductiveness of sanctions approaches for the development of relations '' The European Union with Minsk.
Earlier, Borrell also held talks with the Foreign Ministers of Poland and Lithuania. “ Tonight I spoke with Zbigniew Rau and Gabrielus Landsbergis about the unacceptable instrumentalization of people by the Lukashenka regime at the EU borders, '' & mdash; he said on Twitter. Further steps on the situation on the Belarusian-Polish border will be discussed on November 15 at the Council of Foreign Ministers, Borrell added.
In an interview with the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, he confirmed that during this meeting, the ministers will consider new sanctions against Belarus. This is necessary so that the restrictions “ can be applied to anyone involved in the smuggling of migrants into this country, such as the airlines or travel agencies involved, '' Borrell explained.
The migration crisis at the EU border and Belarus escalated in early November. Thousands of refugees from the Middle East went to the border points with Poland. Several times the migrants managed to break through by storm into Polish territory, but then they were detained by the police.
The EU believes that the influx of migrants was organized by the Belarusian authorities, who allegedly pursue their political goals. Minsk denied these allegations and stated that the refugees themselves decided to head to the Polish border in order to draw attention to “ Poland's actions in terms of non-observance of human rights. ''
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Iraq's foreign ministry says it has halted direct flights to Belarus from Iraq in a bid to protect Iraqis against human trafficking gangs.
- European officials have repeatedly said their best hope of resolving the crisis at the frontier is to stop would-be migrants from boarding flights for Belarus
- Turkey has denied playing a direct role by allowing its territory to be used to ferry in migrants
- Thousands of migrants are sheltering on the borders between Belarus and EU states Poland and Lithuania
"The Iraqi embassy in Moscow and Warsaw [will] coordinate Iraq's efforts for the voluntary return of those who are stranded at the Belarus border," the Iraqi state News Agency quoted the ministry spokesperson as saying.
"Iraq has stopped direct flights between Iraq and Belarus," he added.
The move came after Turkey banned Syrian, Yemeni and Iraqi citizens from catching flights to Minsk, potentially closing off one of the routes used by migrants who the EU says have been flown in by Belarus to create a deliberate humanitarian crisis on its border.
European officials have repeatedly said their best hope of resolving the crisis at the frontier is to stop would-be migrants in the Middle East from boarding flights for Belarus in the first place.
Turkey has denied playing a direct role by allowing its territory to be used to ferry in migrants. But Minsk airport's website listed six flights arriving from Istanbul on Friday, the most from any city outside the former Soviet Union.
Turkey's Civil Aviation General Directorate, known as SHGM, said on Friday it would ban citizens from Syria, Iraq and Yemen buying plane tickets to Belarus. The Belarusian state-owned airline Belavia said it would comply with the request.
"In relation to the illegal border crossing problem between the European Union and Belarus, it has been decided for citizens from Iraq, Syria and Yemen wanting to travel to Belarus from our country's airports not to be sold tickets and not to be allowed on planes," SHGM said on Twitter.
There are fears for the safety of the thousands of migrants at the border.(AP: Leonid Shcheglov/BelTA pool photo )
Thousands of migrants, mainly from the Middle East, are sheltering in freezing conditions in the woods on the borders between Belarus and EU states Poland and Lithuania, which are refusing to let them cross.
Some have already died and there are fears for the safety of the rest as bitter winter conditions settle in.
Belarus denies creating crisis as it calls for sanctions to be lifted
The European Union accuses Belarus of creating the crisis as part of a "hybrid attack" on the bloc — distributing Belarusian visas in the Middle East, flying in the migrants and encouraging them to try to cross the border illegally.
Brussels may impose new sanctions on Belarus and airlines it blames for ferrying the migrants as soon as Monday.
Belarus has denied it manufactured the crisis, but has also said it cannot help resolve it unless Europe lifts sanctions the EU imposed to punish President Alexander Lukashenko for a violent crackdown on mass street protests against his rule in 2020.
Mr Lukashenko, a close ally of Russia, threatened this week to cut off Russian gas supplies to Europe through pipelines across Belarusian territory.
On Friday, the Kremlin appeared to distance itself from that threat, saying it was not consulted in advance of Mr Lukashenko's remarks and it would fulfil its gas delivery contracts.
However Russian paratroopers staged joint drills near the borders of Poland and Lithuania on Friday.
The exercise at the Gozhsky training ground involved airborne units landing and carrying out combat training, the Belarusian Defence Ministry said.
The drills involved Russian Ilyushin Il-76 military transport planes and helicopters of the Belarusian Air Force, Minsk said in a statement circulated on social media.
While that was going on inside Belarus, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) confirmed it had offered support to Poland at the border with Belarus.
"A small team of UK Armed Forces personnel have deployed following an agreement with the Polish Government to explore how we can provide engineering support to address the ongoing situation at the Belarus border," the MOD said on Twitter.
The Polish Border Guard said there had been 223 attempts to illegally cross the border on Thursday.
With the situation continuing to develop, EU foreign ministers may approve more Belarus sanctions on Monday that could include individuals and companies, according to one diplomat.
The bloc's executive commission said airlines that brought migrants would be on the list, and two diplomats said the main airport in Belarus was also being considered.
Refugees who are trying to get to Poland from the territory of Belarus have set up a tent camp. Several groups of migrants managed to break through to Poland last night. How the camp looks like – in the RBC video
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Restrictions may push Lukashenka to further deepen the process of integration with the Russian Federation
The outbreak of the migration crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border continues to grow. And while helicopters and drones are hovering over illegal immigrants trying to break into the territory of the European Union, everything is also restless in the diplomatic fields. The EU is talking not only about new sanctions against President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, but also about the possibility of punishing his allies. As the expert admitted in a conversation with us, the current activation of the West in the eastern direction is associated not only with a formal occasion at the border, but also with the intensified integration processes between Minsk and Moscow.
As the press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov said on November 10, Vladimir Putin had discussed with his Belarusian counterpart the problem of migrants on the border with Poland a day earlier. However, the representative of the Kremlin did not voice specific details of the conversation, limiting himself to the traditional phrase about “exchange of views.”
Nevertheless, the very fact of the conversation that took place is indicative, especially against the background of the tightening of rhetoric from the West. According to Dmitry Danilov, head of the European Security Department at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, both processes are interconnected, and Europeans and Americans are worried not only by Lukashenko's policy within his republic, but also by the intensified rapprochement between Russia and Belarus, which recently signed the long-suffering road maps within the prisoner 22 years ago. Treaty on the Union State. At the same time, according to the analyst, the threats of Western politicians have a basis: they still have something to complicate the life of the Belarusian president and his entourage, from relatives to political associates.
– Sanctions can be very different, – recalled Dmitry Danilov in a conversation with MK. – Probably, first of all, they will concern financial and economic restrictions, accounts and other property assets; possibly some kind of property abroad, affiliated with the leadership of Belarus. We can talk about expanding the circle of people who will be prohibited from visiting the territory of the European Union.
– From the point of view of a certain positive agenda, the European Union has no such options for Lukashenka. And the steps taken by the West themselves indicate that our foreign colleagues have abandoned their illusions about cooperation with Belarus, for example, within the framework of the Eastern Partnership program.
– Now it is almost unrealistic. Evidently, Europe has made a deliberate choice, seeing progress in Russian-Belarusian integration. And they won't give Minsk a new chance there – you won't enter the same river twice. Moreover, the more than two dozen road maps that were recently signed between our countries imply close cooperation in the military sphere and in the field of high technologies. And this worries the EU.
– Our country is already under serious restrictions, this is not directly connected with Belarus, but as the integration processes develop, Moscow, following Minsk, may find itself limited in its rights to purchase some materials etc. The sanctions issue itself was initially politicized and ideologized. Indeed, even at the NATO level, back in the summer of 2014, in a communiqué, the member states of the North Atlantic Alliance called Russian-Belarusian military integration one of the growing threats to themselves. For the Western community, this is also a question of their common values, which, as the US and the EU believe, Moscow and Minsk do not share. As for the Union State, now Lukashenka has no choice. But this process should have been activated earlier, then it would have cost Belarus less losses than now.
“Refugees are returning from the camp with colds, with frostbite and bedsores”
The migration crisis near the borders of Belarus and Poland is in full swing. Thousands of refugees from the Middle East are trying to break into the EU. Meanwhile, the Belarusian side and the European Union are exchanging mutual accusations. Human rights activist Alena Chekhovich told us about the real situation with migrants in Belarus and about the instructions of the local authorities on their account.
Photo: president .gov.by.
Belarusian human rights organization “ Human Constanta '' for a long time she was engaged in the rights of refugees in the republic. After the protests in Belarus, almost all human rights activities in the republic were suspended. 'Human Constanta' liquidated, and the company has little to help migrants. But & nbsp; nevertheless & nbsp; representatives of the organization are in control of the situation.
Alena Chekhovich, a lawyer at the public reception office for foreigners and stateless people, spoke about what is happening in the country.
& mdash; Every day there are more and more migrants in Belarus. If at the beginning of the situation we tracked the number of visitors according to the reports of the border services of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus, now it is enough to walk along the streets of Minsk and see everything with our own eyes. Every day there is a large crowd of people in the city center with things waiting for transport to reach the border.
& mdash; This information is closed. And & nbsp; until the Belarusian services publish official data, we will not even know the approximate number of visitors. How many people arrive every day, we can track only by the number of flights. We know that now there is no direct flight from Baghdad to Belarus. All fly with a transfer in Damascus, Istanbul or Dubai. A certain category of citizens travels through Russia. These are doubly difficult to track down. We do not have international points on the land border, therefore, many people may simply not be documented.
& mdash; Yes, they mostly get on tour vouchers, get tourist visas. At the initial stage, there was an active propaganda of these supposedly travels. There was an advertisement from the Belarusian authorities about this method of crossing borders and entering the European Union.
Advertising is no longer required. Information spreads by itself, including through internal immigrant channels. By the way, there were cases when migrants were even issued study visas. In fact, people did not apply to universities or other educational institutions in Belarus. This is a fiction.
“For a respite, they return to Minsk, then back to the forest”
& mdash; At the moment, people mainly go to Poland. They are also trying to get to Lithuania, but to a lesser extent.
& mdash; They don't sit there all the time. They will sit, sit, and then return back to the major cities of Belarus to have a little rest. Then they try to cross the border again. This is how they move back and forth. True, we do have information that Belarusian border guards do not allow some migrants to return to the city for a respite. They are detained, placed in makeshift camps in the forest, kept in the cold, practically on the street, so that people & nbsp; do not return to the city and do not stay there for a long time, but again tried to cross the border.
& mdash; There is a room for Belarusian border guards. Sometimes refugee children are taken there for the night so that they do not spend the night on the street. But these are isolated cases. In general & nbsp; impromptu camps for migrants & ndash; this is conventionally a lawn in a forest or a clearing, where people settle down with their sleeping bags and make fires. They are guarded by Belarusian border guards. Nobody provides them with food, water. In recent days, they only began to bring. But it seems that all this is done for the picture in the media. Human rights defenders have no access to these people.
& mdash; Many human rights organizations were liquidated in Belarus this year. Accordingly, human rights defenders cannot carry out their activities on behalf of unregistered organizations, otherwise they face administrative fines or even worse.
& mdash; Now migrants are divided into several groups. Those who still have money to rent rooms in cheap hotels, hostels, hostels, rent apartments. Those who have no money spend the night on the street. They sleep behind shopping centers, in underground passages. Often these are families with many women and young children. And alas, in Belarus now there are no mechanisms to help these people.
& mdash; It is difficult to talk about the attitude of Belarusians to the current situation, we do not conduct public opinion polls. I don't feel much tension at the moment. There are no conflicts between newcomers and Belarusians. But it is clear that Belarusians are not used to a large crowd of people on the street, who, moreover, are outwardly different from them. It is possible that if this situation persists for a long time, the tension will increase.
& mdash; We have not heard that a catastrophic situation has arisen in the border settlements. All migrants are kept at the border, which is located far from the villages. Their movements are controlled by border guards. They only go to big cities for a break.
“Not quite healthy people arrive”
& mdash; We collect information, requests about migrants, transfer them to organizations that can act in the legal field. It's about the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders. We receive a huge number of requests, including for the provision of legal advice. On a personal basis, we provided humanitarian aid, we help with medicines.
& mdash; Mostly with Kurds, citizens of Iraq. I remember well the story of a 25-year-old guy who served in the Iraqi police. He said that terrorists often attacked their site. He admitted that he feared for his life, so he left the country. And there are many such cases. By the way, not quite healthy people arrived in Belarus. Many were already traumatized and wounded after armed clashes at home.
& mdash; According to some media reports, migrants were really dying in the forests. I don’t want to be pessimistic, but we probably do not know about all the deaths that have occurred. The situation is difficult. After all, people return after an unsuccessful attempt to cross the border to Minsk not only to rest and recover, but also to get medical treatment. Everyone comes with a terrible cold, coughs, and some have problems with their legs. The fact is that if they are detained by Belarusian border guards, they have to squat in one place in a cold room for a long time. The legs swell a lot, bedsores and frostbite form. We Engage the Médecins Sans Frontières Mission to the situation so that they can at least superficially examine people and give advice on treatment.
& mdash; They are afraid. Many have expired visas. They are afraid that they might be sent back to their homeland.
& mdash; We know from personal sources that the police officers who patrol the city every day have been instructed not to touch migrants. That is, do not check the documents of anyone, do not speak with them and & nbsp; the more & nbsp; do not delay. Recently, the police came to one of the Minsk hostels to check the documents of the residents. Many have expired their Belarusian visa. This check had no consequences.
“No one wants to stay in the republic”
& mdash; While I do not observe such a desire. Mostly people still want to apply for asylum in the European Union. Although some, after unsuccessful attempts to cross the border, apply for political asylum in Belarus.
& mdash; The problem is that Belarus has never been famous for providing effective protection to people from third world countries. We have had few positive decisions on these issues over the years.
& mdash; Formally, they can open visas there, in fact they cannot. And this is no longer a question for migrants, but for European countries that refuse to issue tourist, work and other types of visas to people from certain countries.
& mdash; I have met very few families who ask to help them get back. These are mainly citizens from African countries, where the problem of armed conflicts is not so acute. Those who come from the zone of constant armed tension do not try to get back home. They hope to the last to get asylum in Europe.
& mdash; It is not within our competence to determine the status of a person. People came for protection. And what is happening now at the border, & mdash; catastrophe. People are actually used as cannon fodder in the political game between Belarus and the European Union.
I hope that Poland will not use excessive violence and military force against defenseless people who do not participate in any way in this confrontation between the politicians of Poland and Belarus. I would like to believe that prudence will remain at least on the part of the European Union. Because no smart approach can be expected from Belarus. If Belarus does something towards transit refugees, it will only be in order to look beautiful in the media.
& mdash; We are in touch with human rights defenders in Poland, but the main hitch is & mdash; access to people who are still on the territory of Belarus. There is no one to work with those who are sitting in the border zone. We hope that the Belarusian Red Cross will not stop providing humanitarian aid. There is reason to believe that the delivery of food over the past two days & ndash; this is a temporary help. Journalists will disperse & mdash; & nbsp; and help will end.
Migrants brought to Belarus storm the border with Poland: frames of chaos
See the related photo gallery
According to Andrei Starikov, this is exactly what Warsaw is trying to achieve
The situation on the Belarusian-Polish border is getting worse. Migrants who settled in the no-man's land near the Polish cordon run out of water and food. On Wednesday night, two large groups of refugees were able to break into Poland from the territory of Belarus. Some of them came back badly crippled. The parties accuse each other of using physical violence. According to experts, sooner or later there may be a blaze if the first killed appear …
& nbsp; & nbsp; Thousands of migrants are trapped in the neutral zone of the Polish-Belarusian border. At night, the air temperature in the area of the “ Kuznitsa '' checkpoint drops to 1 degree, and by the beginning of next week, a cold snap is expected to minus 6. Migrants are cutting trees and making fires right in the forest in order to somehow warm up. The problem remains with the lack of water and food. Nevertheless & nbsp; people are not going to leave the occupied position. “ We will die, but we will not go anywhere '', & mdash; & nbsp; say migrants to journalists of Grodno & nbsp; Media. & Nbsp;
& nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; However, they have nowhere to go. Poland does not intend to let illegal immigrants into its territory, having sent 15 thousand soldiers to defend the border. On the other hand, the Belarusian security forces have built a protective cordon and are operating in the “ not a step back '' regime. How can people get out of this trap & ndash; not clear at all. & nbsp;
& nbsp; & nbsp; Both Belarus and Poland mutually accuse each other of using violence against migrants. The State Border Committee of Belarus reported that four Kurdish migrants with numerous injuries were returned to the spontaneous camp from the Polish side. In the published photographs, one man has deep cuts on his arm and wrist. The second & ndash; the head is broken. According to the Belarusian security officials, these people were able to break into the territory of Poland, but from there they were forced out through the barbed wire back to Belarus. & Nbsp;
& nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; This information is confirmed by the Polish military. They said that a large group of migrants at night & nbsp; really & nbsp; was able to enter their territory. Now they are all detained, and some people were returned back. Prior to this, the Poles published a video in which the Belarusian military is carrying a man somewhere on a stretcher. Who is this and what happened to him & ndash; unknown. Shots into the air are heard from the Belarusian side, probably with the aim of intimidating people. & Nbsp;
& nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; The situation causes horror among the population of the adjacent Grodno region. “ It is not clear how this story will be resolved if Poland does not accept them. And soon winter will come, and this whole crowd will rush to our houses or dachas. To be honest, it's very scary. There are no fewer flights from these countries, which means that everything will only get worse. The presence of migrants in cities has already become noticeable, '' & mdash; & nbsp; shared concerns with MK. local resident. & nbsp;
& nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; Due to the cold weather, some migrants have already made & nbsp; attempts to return from the forest back to the city, but they are being held by the Belarusian military, according to Telegram channels. The border guards allegedly demand that they continue to move towards Poland. A video appeared on the Web: a minibus stopped by the road in the forest, hundreds of people crowded around it, a crush begins. A man in a red jacket throws groceries into the crowd & ndash; a few cakes of bread and, presumably, a bottle of water. There is clearly not enough provisions for everyone. One woman in the crowd becomes ill and faints. & Nbsp;
& nbsp; & nbsp; Horrific videos do not stop other people seeking asylum in the EU. Migrants record a video from Minsk, where they say that they also intend to go to the border. The footage shows a man asking the Polish authorities to let them in, there are small children next to him.
& nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; About how this situation will develop and ways out of it, “ MK '' spoke with Baltic states specialist, editor-in-chief of Baltnews Andrey Starikov .
& nbsp; & mdash; & nbsp; Actually, there is no working way out. Because the exit is in the same plane & ndash; in the dialogue of the Polish authorities with the Belarusian side. The Belarusians do not mind, but the Poles rule out this option. Today Merkel contacted Putin on the situation on the Belarusian-Polish border. Therefore, there may be some kind of mediation and raising the problem to a different level. There are parties to the conflict & mdash; & nbsp; Poland and Belarus. But Poland excludes a dialogue with Minsk. In this case, the problem, since it is already acquiring a pan-European character, can be raised from the Polish level to the EU level. The solution is only in a joint dialogue either Warsaw & mdash; & nbsp; Minsk, or Moscow & mdash; & nbsp; Brussels, or Moscow & mdash; & nbsp; Berlin. Everything here is locked in Poland. Are they ready to listen? The problem is, they are not ready. Already now Poles are behaving too brutally: they spray gas, beat refugees, do not allow them to sleep, turning on the searchlights.
& nbsp; & mdash; & nbsp; The situation itself is not a big problem for Poland. Because 10 thousand people & ndash; these are not big numbers at all. For five years, Europe has absorbed about 10 million refugees, so plus or minus 10 thousand & ndash; it is not essential. Moreover, & nbsp; that the refugees themselves, who are on the border strip, say that they are not going to stay in Poland, they want a transit corridor to Germany. & Nbsp;
& nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; But the Poles, despite a certain hysteria and emotionality of their behavior, are the beneficiaries of this situation, because the refugee crisis removes the serious conflict between Brussels and Warsaw from the agenda. Let me remind you that Poland is being fined 1 million euros a day for Brussels' rejection of the lack of the rule of law in Poland. Warsaw is in a deep value conflict with Brussels both in terms of abortion, and in terms of freedom of the media, the appointment of members of the public media council and, of course, the Polish legal reform.
& nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; The refugee situation removes these contradictions, and again the winning cards are on the Polish side, because Poland had no working arguments in this conflict before. Now, taking advantage of this situation, Warsaw has the right to ask Brussels for both money and military assistance, and ask for political support. That is, Poland will not position itself as a troublemaker and a Trojan horse. USA, which brings discord to the home of the European Union, but as a defender of the eastern borders of the EU. Therefore, the Poles skillfully use this situation and assess it not as a flow of refugees, but as a hybrid war, appointing the aggressors in the person of Minsk and Moscow.
& nbsp; & mdash; & nbsp; If the situation does not defuse, and this, apparently, is possible only with the mediation of Germany and Moscow, then the Belarusian side will be accused of sabotage. There will be some Belarusian security officials who disguised themselves as migrants. I mean the 'allegedly Belarusian security forces' who 'allegedly changed their clothes' & mdash; & nbsp; Poles will find them. As a result, this will lead to a clash between the forces of Poland and Belarus in the border zone. It will be a military conflict, albeit a local, point and one-off moment. The situation is only getting worse, but the Poles are ready for it.
& nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; And the main beneficiary & ndash; ruling party in Poland “ Law and Justice ''. They are the beneficiaries of & nbsp; as in the external dimension: relations with Brussels, the role of the EU defender, the role of the victim of the hybrid war. So in the internal & mdash; & nbsp; in Poland there is traditionally anti-immigrant sentiment, which is now warmed up. For the Polish electorate, they act as defenders from everything alien, and at the same time they beat political opponents – & ndash; Liberal Party Civic Platform. Therefore, the Poles are interested in escalating the conflict, and without an outside hand that will pull them down, the situation can take tragic forms.
& nbsp; & mdash; & nbsp; Of course they can. This is help with money and manpower, troops. They can appeal to Clause 5 of the NATO Charter that aggression is being waged against Poland & nbsp; as a NATO member and against the entire military bloc of the alliance. Poland will use the situation to attract political and resource attention to itself. They want the problem to worsen.
& nbsp; & mdash; & nbsp; They will not be afraid of any NATO forces. An important element & ndash; Belarus has nothing to do with it. Migrants travel spontaneously. Their names are people who do business on migrants, fellow tribesmen, more successful and successful people who managed to penetrate the EU. It has its own communication environment. Will NATO appear there or will a fence be built & ndash; refugees will not stop arriving. The solution to the problem lies in the political plane and dialogue, but Warsaw is not ready for it. We should expect mediation from Germany or Moscow & nbsp; or the situation will worsen and escalate. & Nbsp;
& nbsp; & mdash; & nbsp; They do not arrive at the initiative of Minsk. Belarus simply does not bother them, plus it provides infrastructure. There are flights, because the EU is banning Belarusian airlines and do not want to fly to Minsk airport. Belavia there was nothing left but to take alternative routes to stay on the market. & nbsp;
& nbsp; & nbsp; The influx of refugees itself is spontaneous. Those who have entered the EU or are in the border zone are calling their fellow tribesmen from the countries of origin to follow their example. There are chat rooms and groups of refugees where people are actively working, let's call them “ migration businessmen '', who provide transportation services. In fact, these are crooks, but people are interested in their services. These are not tourists, travelers, people are fleeing the war and trying to save their lives. European humanism obliges to accept and protect them, but this humanism has gone somewhere. It was, of course, difficult to expect him from the Poles, but the large EU countries do not condemn the inadequate use of force by the Poles and Lithuanians.
Two long-range Tu-22m3 bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces performed patrols in the airspace of Belarus, the Russian Defense Ministry reports.
On November 10, two Tu-22m3 bombers patrolled in the airspace of Belarus. The aircraft worked out the issues of interaction with ground control points of the Armed Forces of the allied states.
Previously, two Tu-160s flew over the water area of the Barents and Norwegian Seas. At some stages of the route, Russian aircraft were accompanied by F-16 fighters of the Norwegian Air Force.
Prior to that, strategic missile carriers Tu-95MS conducted a planned flight over the neutral waters of the Chukchi, Bering and Okhotsk seas. & Nbsp; & nbsp;
Warsaw recognizes that ending trade and banning the movement of people between countries is a radical option for resolving the border crisis
The Polish authorities have warned that they may completely close the border with Belarus due to the crisis with migrants, which has arisen in recent days. This was reported to Wirtualna Polska by the official representative of the government Piotr Müller.
The official was asked to comment on the information in the Polish media that Warsaw is considering the most radical scenario of combating the penetration of refugees into its territory & mdash; the closure of the border, a complete cessation of trade and a ban on the movement of people between Poland and Belarus. Müller replied that such an option is indeed being considered.
“ Now we are sending information to Minsk through diplomatic and official channels that this option is possible if the Belarusian authorities do not stop the hybrid war on the border. Unfortunately, we have not received any answers on this; & raquo;, & mdash; stated Müller.
In recent days, the Polish authorities have repeatedly accused the Lukashenka regime of provoking the crisis on the border. In particular, President Andrzej Duda argued that Minsk deliberately directed refugee flows to those areas in the Grodno region where there are no border crossings. This is a large-scale “ hybrid attack '', which is directed not only against Poland, but the entire European Union, the politician noted.
Earlier, the Politico edition reported that the EU is considering imposing sanctions against Belarus situations with illegal migrants. Their main task is called pressure on officials and airlines, including the state-owned Belavia, which help move migrants from the Middle East and Africa to the borders of the European Union.
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The United States has announced a plan to curb legal immigration from six additional countries that officials say do not meet the country’s security standards as part of an election-year push to further restrict immigration.
- Immigrants from Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania will face new restrictions in obtaining certain US visas
- The restrictions do not go as far as Mr Trump’s travel ban which suspended travel from several Muslim majority countries
- Immigration was a signature issue in Mr Trump’s successful 2016 election campaign
US Homeland Security officials said immigrants from Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania will face new restrictions in obtaining certain visas to come to the United States.
But it is not a total travel ban, unlike President Donald Trump’s earlier effort that generated outrage around the world for unfairly targeting Muslims.
Mr Trump was expected to sign a proclamation on the restrictions in the coming days and the restrictions would go into effect on February 21.
The announcement comes as Mr Trump tries to promote his administration’s crackdown on immigration, highlighting a signature issue that motivated his supporters in 2016 and hoping it has the same effect in this November’s presidential election.
The Trump administration recently announced a crackdown on ‘birth tourism’ and is noting the sharp decline in crossings at the US-Mexico border and citing progress on building the border wall.
Immigrant visas, the type of visa given to people seeking to live in the US permanently, were restricted for Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Eritrea, Nigeria. They include visas for people sponsored by family members or employers as well as the diversity visa program.
The US will also stop granting diversity visas, commonly known as the ‘green card lottery’, to people in Sudan and Tanzania. The State Department uses a digital lottery to select people from around the world for up to 55,000 diversity visas.
Non-immigrant visas, which are given to people travelling to the US for a temporary stay, are not affected. These visas include those for tourists, those doing business or people seeking medical treatment.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said officials would work with the countries on bolstering their security requirements to help them get off the list.
“These countries, for the most part, want to be helpful, they want to do the right thing, they have relationships with the US, but for a variety of different reasons failed to meet those minimum requirements,” Mr Wolf said.
Rumours swirled for weeks about a potential new ban, and initially, Belarus was considered.
But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was headed to the Eastern European nation as the restrictions were released and Belarus was not on the list.
Mr Wolf said some nations were able to comply with the new standards in time.
Critics argued travel ban targeted Muslim countries
The current restrictions follow Mr Trump’s travel ban, which the Supreme Court upheld as lawful in 2018.
They do not go as far as Mr Trump’s initial ban, which had suspended travel from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen for 90 days, blocked refugee admissions for 120 days, and suspended travel from Syria.
The Government suspended most immigrant and non-immigrant visas to applicants from those countries.
Mr Trump has said a travel ban is necessary to protect Americans.
But opponents have argued that he seeks to target Muslim countries, pointing to comments he made as a candidate in 2015 calling for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.
The seven countries with considerably more restrictions include nations with little or no diplomatic relationship to the US.
They include five majority-Muslim nations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. Sudan and Kyrgyzstan are majority-Muslim countries.
Nigeria is about evenly split between Christians and Muslims but has the world’s fifth-largest population of Muslims, according to the Pew Research Centre.
Mr Wolf said immigrant visas were chosen because people with those visas were the most difficult to remove after arriving in the United States.