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19 November 2021, 19:40

Belarus' defense minister gives interview to Al Jazeera, condemns attack on refugees

MINSK, 19 November (BelTA) – In an interview with the Al Jazeera TV channel Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin has commented on the acute refugee crisis on the border of Belarus with the European Union, BelTA informs.

“These are people who are fleeing war and desolation, who want to live the way they were told in Europe: to be happy, to have enough food and clothes. Belarus is not to blame for this crisis. This crisis is a handiwork of the collective West and the United States that destroyed Iraq, Libya, Syria. And now people are fleeing the war,” the defense minister said.

Viktor Khrenin emphasized that Belarus does not benefit from the ongoing crisis in any way: neither economically, nor politically, nor militarily. “Why do we need it? We have our own problems to deal with. I think this crisis was created purposefully. They are fomenting tensions over it, now Poland is trying to earn some political points on this. Maybe it is pursuing some financial goals,” the minister added.

There is a possibility that they are trying to drag Belarus into some kind of a conflict through this crisis, through provocations. "I think it's very dangerous and wrong. We condemn the Polish defense ministry for accusing us, the military, of participating in this crisis, of almost manufacturing it,” Viktor Khrenin said.

He noted that the Polish side had not provided evidence in support of such claims. Poland had also failed to fulfill its obligations under the Vienna Document, which calls for an exchange of information between countries if one of them deploys more than 6,000 troops at the border.

"A few weeks ago, they deployed Leopard tanks to the border. To fight refugees, or for what?" the minister asked.

He also noted that they set up more than a dozen camps near the Belarusian border to accommodate servicemen.

“We believe that we should switch to consultations and discuss the topic. We have invited Poland to do this. Yet, we have not seen any willingness on their part,” said Viktor Khrenin.

As for refugees, the minister said that they do not want to stay in Poland. They want to go to Germany where they were invited to. “They have a lot of relatives there, they keep in touch with them. They are waiting for some kind of mercy, for a humanitarian corridor to be opened for them,” Viktor Khrenin said.

“There have only been some unfounded accusations, some incomprehensible statements. I believe, however, that European politicians will finally have the good sense and understand. There are children and women here. If there were just men here. But they are fighting against children, women... They want to go there, so let them in. This is not such a big number of people who want to live there. After all, if we take the migration problem around Europe in general, we will see that thousands of people get there from all the directions. They said that they would take everyone in. So do it,” Viktor Khrenin said.

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