German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas argues that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko uses illegal migrants for putting pressure on the European Union. He expressed this viewpoint upon arrival in Luxembourg for a meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers’ Council on Monday. His statement was telecast live by the Council’s press-service.
“Lukashenko is the chief of a state-run network of transportation of illegal migrants,” Maas said. He argues that the Belarusian leader uses refugees as a means of pressure on the European countries. Also, he accused the authorities in Minsk of suppressing the opposition and violating human rights and described the political situation in Belarus as “dramatic.”
Germany’s federal police earlier said that there was a considerable increase in the number of illegal migrants on the Polish border, who had infiltrated into the European Union through Belarus lately. Since the beginning of August more than 4,300 such migrants, mostly from Iraq, Syria and Iran, had arrived from the territories of Belarus and Poland.
At the end of May, Lukashenko said that his country had served as a barrier in the way of Lithuania-bound illegal migrants, but in the light of the West’s political pressure Minsk might stop to think whether it should continue doing so. The Polish authorities earlier made a decision to introduce a state of emergency in regions on the border with Belarus due to the migrant crisis.