The Russian president has rejected a meeting with Merkel after asking for an audience with him to discuss the escalating Russian military presence on the border with Ukraine. She called for a strong EU response to the rejection, saying she “very much regrets” Putin’s decision to snub the talks.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Poland in Berlin, she said: my mandate. “
She also launched new sanctions against Russia “if we see no progress”, as she warned that Moscow was showing no interest in resolving the conflict.
At the same press conference, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki asserted that Putin’s ultimate goal was to divide the EU and NATO, referring to Russia’s alleged role in the border migrant crisis. between Poland and Belarus.
There have been fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine in light of a growing military presence along the border between the two countries.
According to CBS News, U.S. intelligence officials are warning European allies of a possible Russian military incursion into Ukraine, which they say will become more likely as the weather cools.
They said the invasion could take place in a few weeks, unless the West intervenes.
It comes as tens of thousands of Russian troops gathered on the Ukrainian border, months after thousands of soldiers gathered at the border in the spring.
The military presence last spring was seen by many as a show of force but, according to CBS, US intelligence officials have said it is more likely that preparations are made for a full-blown invasion in the Donbass region. in eastern Ukraine.
READ MORE: Putin blames Biden for ‘repeat nuclear strike’
“And we watch this with great concern.”
Tensions with Russia have also intensified recently due to the growing migrant crisis on the border between Poland and Belarus.
At the joint press conference, Merkel blamed Putin for his alleged role in the crisis.
She said: “We are also dealing with a connection with Russia here.
“We know that [Belarus leader Alexander] Lukashenko and President Putin have a very close relationship.
It comes as Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has been accused of luring refugees to the Polish border in what the EU has described as an attempt to “destabilize the EU”.
Thousands of refugees are currently camping on the Polish border, trying to get to Poland to seek asylum in the EU.