Alyaksandr Lukashenka claims that Lithuania is taking actions that “threaten to conflict”. He also commissioned the sealing of the border with this country. The accusations of the Belarusian president came after Vilnius’s decision to send illegal migrants coming back to Belarus back to Belarus.
– From today, no one should make a step in Belarus from the neighboring countries, be it from the West or the East – said Lukashenka during the Thursday meeting with the heads of the security forces. – You have to cover every meter of the border. It was not for nothing that we spent enormous amounts of money on border troops, on our power structures. Our nation should feel calm – he added.
The meeting was devoted to the situation at the border. The Belarusian authorities are accused by Vilnius of actions aimed at increasing the number of illegal migrants wishing to enter Lithuania.
– God forbid that they (Lithuanians – ed.) Would start to expel people who had been invited there earlier by official crossings (the Belarusian authorities argue that the EU invited migrants). You know what the consequences would be, so do they, ”he said.
Lukashenka said that Lithuania’s actions were part of the “color revolution”. He indicated that the situation at the border may “threaten a conflict”, the Interfax-Zapad agency reported.
Returning illegal migrants
Since Tuesday, Lithuania has been sending illegal immigrants back to Belarus, trying to cross its border with Belarus in forbidden places. They are directed to border crossings or to diplomatic missions. Belarusians accuse their neighbors of breaking the law, and the pro-government media report on the “war against migrants”.
On Wednesday, the Belarusian authorities announced that an Iraqi man died in the country near the border due to severe beatings. Minsk blames the Lithuanian border guard for his death. Lithuania called this a provocation.
Since the beginning of the year, the number of illegal migrants from Iraq, Syria or African countries who come to Lithuania from Belarus has increased several dozen times (their number exceeded 4,000) compared to the entire previous year (81 people). Vilnius is convinced that the influx of immigrants is the result of Minsk’s actions, which is thus reacting to EU sanctions and Lithuanian support for the Belarusian opposition.
On Thursday, Asta Skaisgiryte, the Lithuanian president’s foreign policy advisor, announced that Iraq had suspended flights to Minsk. This movement is to help solve the illegal migration crisis in Lithuania. – Lithuanian diplomatic efforts in cooperation with the European Union have paid off – flights from Iraq to Minsk are suspended – Skaisgiryte, quoted by the Lithuanian portal 15min, announced.
The president’s adviser added that further efforts should be made to finally stop the flow of illegal migrants from Iraq via Belarus.
On Wednesday evening, the BNS agency, based on the statements of the EU ambassador to Iraq, Martin Huth, announced that flights from that country to Minsk should be canceled for the next ten days so that Lithuania and the Community could close the route of illegal migration from Belarus.
Among the migrants who reach Lithuania, the most numerous are Iraqis, who say that they came to Minsk on the basis of a legally purchased trip, and then “unknown” persons took them to the border with Lithuania.
Last day, Lithuanian border guards detained 19 migrants, and over 300 people were returned to Belarus.
The BNS quoted a spokesman for the Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Thursday urging fellow countrymen not to fall victim to smuggling networks.
Main photo source: TOMS KALNINS / PAP / EPA