Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized Western countries for their handling of the issue of Afghan refugees.
In a speech at a meeting of Russia’s ruling United Russia party on Sunday, Putin criticized Western countries for expecting Russia’s neighboring nations to take in Afghan refugees while their visas for the United States and Europe are processed.
“Our Western partners are pushing for an option to accept Afghan refugees to Central Asian countries until they receive visas for the United States and other countries. Does this mean that, they say, it is possible to send them to these countries, to our neighbors, without visas, but they themselves do not want to accept them without visas?” Putin said in Moscow.
Putin has rejected the idea of sending evacuees from Afghanistan to countries near Russia, saying he does not want “militants coming in under the cover of refugees”, Russia’s RIA news agency quoted Putin as saying.
Russia allows visa-free travel for residents of former Soviet Central Asian countries, and Putin has already expressed concern that militants could travel undercover as refugees.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed out said Taliban leaders had so far kept their promises.
“We see the statements made by the Taliban about the cessation of hostilities, the amnesty it grants to those involved in the conflict and the attempts to open a dialogue at the national level … all apply,” he told Russian news agency RIA.
Title image: Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking during a meeting with members of United Russia party in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021. Putin has expressed hope that the Kremlin’s United Russia party will continue its dominance in parliament after the September election.. (Mikhail Voskresensky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)