So far, the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, has flatly rejected all accusations from the European Union, NATO and the United States that the country has created a migrant crisis with the help of false promises to offer an easy path to the European Union.
Now the man, who has dominated Belarus in his iron fist for 27 years, strikes back.
In an exclusive interview with BBC The 67-year-old says the following, among other things:
– Our warmth of heart. Our military knows that the migrants are on their way to Germany. Maybe someone helped them. I wouldn’t go any further with this.
Tear gas and laser
On Friday, Polish border guards arrested 45 migrants after trying to cross the Belarusian border.
They were among two different groups that threw stones and tear gas canisters at border guards, according to spokeswoman Anna Michalska of the Polish border guards.
At the same time, Belarusian security forces were accused of using lasers in an attempt to impress the Polish border guards. It also believes that it was Belarus that gave the migrants the tear gas.
– She said that it is clear that they did not bring this from their countries of origin, according to international news agencies.
In recent months, thousands of migrants have tried to enter the European Union via Belarus.
Both the European Union and the United States announced new sanctions against Belarus earlier this week. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the US may impose more sanctions.
NATO President Jens Stoltenberg is among those who have been highly critical of the migrant crisis in Belarus.
– What we see is that Lukashenko’s regime uses vulnerable people as a means of putting pressure on other countries. It is cynical and inhumane, and therefore NATO countries condemned this behavior in a joint statement, Stoltenberg said before a meeting with German Prime Minister Angela Merkel in Berlin on Friday.
Lukashenko has so far denied all these allegations. In an interview with the BBC, the president emphasized that he would not arrest migrants who arrive at the border, and claimed that he had informed the European Union of this.
– I don’t want to stop them. Because they will not go to my country. He continues: They are going to you.
– But I didn’t let them. And to be honest, I also don’t want them to travel through Belarus, adds the man who is not recognized by the Western world as the legally elected head of state.
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