Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka told the BBC that it was “absolutely possible” that his services helped migrants get to Poland, but denies being invited. “We condemn the attempts by the Lukashenka regime to brutally and inhumanly organize illegal migration flows across the border,” declared US Undersecretary of State Uzra Zeya in Vilnius.
In an exclusive interview at the presidential palace in Minsk, the authoritarian Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka was asked if his services helped migrants get to Poland. – I think it is absolutely possible. We are Slavs. We have hearts. Our troops know that migrants are going to Germany – he said.
– Maybe someone was helping them. I will not even look at it – added the president. He denied, however, that Belarus was inviting thousands of migrants to trigger a border crisis.
– I told them that I do not intend to detain migrants at the border, detain them at the border, and if they continue to come, I still will not stop them, because they are not coming to my country, but to yours – he said. – That’s what I meant. But I didn’t invite them here. And frankly speaking, I do not want them to pass through Belarus, he added.
Żaryn: Belarus stimulates the crisis
Alyaksandr Lukashenka has been in power in Belarus since 1994, but his re-election as president was widely discredited by the West and not recognized by the European Union. He was accused by the EU of organizing a border crisis with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in recent months in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Belarus for brutally cracking down on opponents who took part in mass protests after the August 2020 elections.
A number of photos from the border area were shown by Stanisław Żaryn, spokesman for the minister coordinator of special services.
“On the Belarusian side, at the border with Poland, there are soldiers or officers who behave as if they are carrying out special tasks, guide the migrants, organize training, shoot propaganda materials or give orders to Belarusians. Belarus stimulates the crisis,” Żaryn wrote on Twitter, commenting on the published by himself photos showing Belarusian officers. He added that “Belarusians still provide migrants with support, for example in building a camp.”
US deputy head of diplomacy: we condemn attempts to organize illegal migration
The situation of Lithuania, Poland and Latvia on the border with Belarus and the situation in Belarus were the topics of the meeting in Vilnius by the US deputy head of diplomacy with the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis.
– We condemn the attempts by the Lukashenka regime to brutally and inhumanly organize illegal migration flows across the border in order to distract the international community from the horrific violations committed against Belarusians – said US Undersecretary of State Uzra Zeya during a press conference.
– We recognize the obligation of the Lithuanian state and other countries affected (the migration crisis caused by Minsk – ed.) In the protection of their borders – emphasized Zeya.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / BELARUS PRESIDENT PRESS SERVICE