UpdateBelarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said it was “quite possible” that his forces would help migrants cross the border into Poland. However, he denies that his regime has deliberately brought in foreign asylum seekers to put pressure on the European Union.
The president made these statements in an interview with the BBC. “We are a Slavic people. We have hearts. Our troops know that the immigrants are going to Germany.” “Maybe someone helped them. I won’t explore that further.”
Thousands of migrants, mostly from the Middle East, have attempted to travel to the European Union via eastern Europe and Belarus in recent months. They are stopped at the border with EU member Poland, where tension is rising. European countries accuse Lukashenko’s regime of orchestrating the migrant crisis in response to European sanctions.
Lies and propaganda
Polish authorities said on Friday that there were no more migrant camps on the Belarusian side of the border. However, attempts to illegally seize those borders continue, according to the country, and are getting fiercer.
Belarus has chosen a new strategy to move migrants across the border into the European Union, according to Poland. Defense Minister Mariusz Blaschak said smaller groups of migrants are being directed to the border in many different places. Polish border guards said there were 195 attempts to cross the border on Friday. There were 501 on Wednesday and 250 on Thursday.
Earlier this week, Poland took a hard line. The security forces then used water cannons and tear gas against the migrants. Dunja Mijatović, Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, is critical of the situation at the Polish border. It believes there are human rights violations, and states, among other things, that Poland must immediately accept aid workers and stop pushing migrants already across the border.
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Lukashenko, 67, also made it clear that he would not allow the migrants to be stopped for the time being. “They will not come to my country, they will go to your country,” he told the BBC. “But I did not invite them. To be honest, I also do not want them to cross Belarus.”
Lukashenko’s main opponent, opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, said he was unhappy with the BBC interview. I thought the British broadcaster had given the president a platform to spread “lies and propaganda”.
2500 km of fence
Meanwhile, more and more countries neighboring Belarus are already taking measures to prepare for a possible influx of migrants. Ukraine, which borders Belarus, said on Friday it would erect a 2,500-kilometre fence and a trench 4 meters wide and 2 meters deep. The country is also planning to conduct a military exercise on the border. Latvia, among other countries, has already sent soldiers to the border – three thousand in total.
last Thursday Hundreds of Iraqi refugees stranded at the Polish border have returned from Belarus to Iraq. President Lukashenko said in a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Belarus is ready to return 5,000 migrants to their countries of origin if EU countries allow the year 2000.
Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994, which borders Russia, Ukraine and several European Union countries. His controversial re-election last year sparked mass protests by Belarusian citizens who believed that election fraud had been committed. Lukashenko’s security forces suppressed this, which led to European sanctions.
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