Lukashenko: We Certainly May Have Helped Migrants

Belarus’ leader says it is “absolutely possible” that his troops helped migrants cross the border into Poland. However, president Alexander Lukashenko denies in an interview with the British broadcaster BBC that his regime deliberately brought in foreign asylum seekers to pressure the European Union.


In recent months, thousands of migrants, mostly from the Middle East, have tried to travel to the EU via eastern European Belarus. Instead, they are stopped at the border with EU member state Poland, where the tension increases. European countries accuse Lukashenko’s regime of orchestrating a migrant crisis in retaliation for European sanctions.

Lukashenko did not object to the BBC that his troops were helping the migrants. “We are a Slavic people. We have hearts. Our men know that the migrants are going to Germany,” he said. “Maybe someone helped them. I’m not going to investigate that further.”

Lukashenko, 67, also made it clear that he will not allow the migrants to be stopped for the time being. “They’re not coming to my country; they’re coming to yours,” he told the BBC reporter. “But I didn’t invite them. And to be honest, I don’t want them to travel through Belarus either.”

Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994, which borders Russia, Ukraine and several EU countries. His controversial reelection last year sparked mass protests by Belarusian citizens who believe election fraud has been committed. Lukashenko’s security forces cracked down on this, leading to European sanctions.

Lukashenko’s main opponent, opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, said he was not happy with the BBC interview. She thought the British broadcaster gave the president a platform to spread “lies and propaganda”.

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