Belarus's foreign minister says Russia and Belarus are mutually supporting each other
Russia accused the European Union of trying to "strangle" Belarus with plans to close part of the frontier, while sending support for its ally by dispatching two bomber planes to patrol Belarusian airspace.
The Tu-22M3 bombers helped test Belarus's joint air defense system, RIA news agency quoted the defense ministry as saying in a statement that did not refer to the migrant crisis but served to underline the rise in tensions on NATO's eastern frontier.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a joint news conference with his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei that he hoped responsible Europeans would "not allow themselves to be drawn into a spiral that is fairly dangerous."
Makei said Russia and Belarus were mutually supporting each other "including in terms of a joint response to unfriendly activity against our countries."
Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the EU should directly discuss the crisis with Belarus, the Kremlin said.
"It is apparent that a humanitarian catastrophe is looming against the background of Europeans' reluctance to demonstrate commitment to their European values," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a briefing.
He described a comment by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki that the crisis “has a mastermind in Moscow” as “absolutely irresponsible and unacceptable.”
Peskov said the EU had in the past let in similar groups of migrants and its moves to close the border now were aimed against Minsk.
"This is nothing other than further attempts to actually strangle Belarus," he said.