US, ten European countries call for new sanctions against Lukashenka regime over fostering illegal migration

Rihards Kols, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Latvia’s parliament, posted on Twitter a joint statement by representatives of the foreign affairs committees of the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, France, the Czech Republic, Estonia.

Migrants at Belarus-Lithuanian border. Photo:

The signers push for imposing a ban on the flights that would-be migrants use to get to Belarus. The current situation is compared to the forced landing of the Ryanair plane by the Belarusian authorities. The chairs of the committees unequivocally condemned the use of trafficked migrants, saying that the illegal Lukashenka regime aims to undermine the neighbouring states. They blasted its attempt to push migrants over the border with Lithuania, calling it ‘a criminal and inhuman act’.

“We call for a ban on flights to Belarus suspected of being used for state-organised people trafficking. We call for sanctions on those involved in this state-organised people trafficking across international borders and the Lukashenka regime that controls it,” the statement reads.

According to them, the joint commitment is crucially needed to end the people trafficking across the EU borders, including support to Frontex, Border Management and Visa Instrument, European Asylum Support Office and other agencies that can support Lithuania and other states targeted by this unconventional attack.

Joint EU and NATO statements should be directed to the governments of Turkey, Iraq, others which are used by the regime in the abuse and instrumentalisation of migrants, the signers added.

Lukashenka about illegals going to EU through Belarus: ‘We will not hold anyone, we are not their final destination’

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 1,400 illegals have entered Lithuania from the territory of Belarus. This figure is 17 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.

On July 8, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė announced mobilising military and installing ‘a physical barrier’ to protect the country’s border with Belarus.

Wall may appear between Belarus and Lithuania