The Belarusian authorities are going to deal with nuclear non-proliferation, combating illegal migration, smuggling international organised crime only to the extent they find ‘necessary, beneficial and financially possible’, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said at Tuesday’s meeting.
“But if someone thinks that we will close the border with Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine and become a filtration camp for fugitives from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, they are mistaken at least. We will not hold anyone. We are not their final destination after all. They are headed to the enlightened, warm, cozy Europe,” the press service quotes Lukashenka.
The politician believes that it is Europe that, on the one hand, ‘invited’ the refugees and, on the other hand, ‘destroyed’ their native countries, e.g. Afghanistan.
“They reproach the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our government for refusing to comply with the readmission treaty. They want to turn Belarus into a filtration camp: people are fleeing westwards because of grief, misery and war, and they want us to take them and hold them in ‘filtration camps’ here. This will not happen since you have chosen this policy with regard to Belarus and Russia,” he said.
The Lithuanian authorities accuse Minsk of organising the transit of migrants from Asia and Africa, calling the Belarusian side’s actions ‘waging a hybrid war against the EU’. As reported earlier, in response to Western sanctions imposed on the regime, Alyaksandr Lukashenka threatened to loosen control over the flow of migrants and banned substances (even nuclear materials) at the border with the European Union.
This year, over 1,200 illegals have tried to enter Lithuania from the territory of Belarus. This figure is 15 times higher than it was during the entire year of 2020. When the threat took a definite shape, Lithuania’s Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė appealed to the country’s Prosecutor General’s Office, drawing the agency’s attention to the illegal movement of people across the Belarusian-Lithuanian border.
“Migrants from third countries have been crossing the border illegally for several weeks, and we do see the signs indicating that this might be done in an organised way,” she said.
Belarus delivers Syrians and Iraqis from Istanbul and Baghdad to its territory using the national tour operator Tsentrkurort, then so-called ‘tourists’ are taken to the border from Minsk, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis suggests.
In late June, the European Union announced sending employees of the EU Agency for External Border Security (Frontex) to Lithuania in order to strengthen the protection of the the EU-Belarus border from illegal migrants. This week, Lithuanian MEP Petras Auštrevičius has said on the air of Current Time that the country plans to bill Lukashenka for transferring illegals. According to him, this issue will be discussed at a session of the European Parliament.