MINSK, 20 July (BelTA) – During the government conference held on 20 July to discuss foreign policy priorities Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made a number of comments in response to illegal migration-related complaints about Belarus, BelTA has learned.
Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that Belarus spends its own money to suppress criminal activities at the border, including illegal migration, smuggling of drugs and weapons. The European Union covered some of the costs in the past. “Europe turned its face towards us. We got some funding albeit very little. By the way, we always settled accounts with them on time. They appreciated us for peacefulness. Even a negotiation platform has been created in Minsk in order to stop the war in Ukraine's east. And by the way the war has been stopped thanks to that. Not all the problems have been resolved but the war, during which thousands of people or hundreds died, is no more,” the Belarusian leader noted.
“And then something happened last year. You know what. And they've enforced sanctions against us and berate us saying Lukashenko facilitates illegal migration,” the president said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said he could not comprehend how they introduce sanctions against Belarus on the one hand and yet demand protection from Belarus at the border on the other hand. “They are choking us. Why would we protect them? Listen, are they naive? They are not naive, they are mad. They are mad enough to demand something that should not be spoken aloud,” he noted.
“We have a small amount of riot police, SWAT police, and interior troops. Barely adequate for our country. I had to redeploy troops from the border to the western direction, towards Ukraine, particularly Pinsk. And I told them to ensure the security of citizens. Together with the riot police, the interior troops, individual units of the army they put everyone in their places within a month or a month and a half and now control the situation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“At present Belarus is the safest country in the world,” the president stressed. “So what? Do they want me to quintuple the number of border guard personnel right now and deploy them at the border? Who will pay for that? Who will pay while our nation and our state are being choked?”
The head of state pointed out that the increase in the number of migrants travelling to Europe had been largely caused by the policy of a number of European Union countries. Countries like Lithuania are interested in an inflow of foreign workers because the indigenous population is dwindling rapidly. “I remember Lithuania was home to 4 million people during the Soviet times. Now the population varies from 1.5 million to 2 million people. Lithuania was a prosperous country during the Soviet times. Now it is barren land. Naturally it needs workforce. Our fugitives go there in order to do politics, in order to spit on Belarus, so to say. Such people are abundant over there as it is,” he noted.
“You've summoned them. Now you have to provide them with everything they need and treat them equally with your own citizens,” Aleksandr Lukashenko continued. In his words, a considerable number of migrants are coming to the European Union from the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa. They choose various routes, including via Belarus. “It is understandable that the number of migrants coming via Belarus has increased. They should calculate how many are coming via Ukraine and other countries. Many are trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea and die in their hundreds and thousands,” he pointed out.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that in order to fight illegal migration, it is necessary to eradicate organized criminal groups in Lithuania, Poland, and other countries, who invite migrants and welcome them at the border in exchange for money. “And another thing. You've destroyed those countries. You were intent on spreading democracy there. So, now you should go and create jobs in these democratic countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and other ones. Allow people over there to earn their living and win bread for their kids. The recipe is simple. But you have to work for it, you have to make an effort. If you made an error, a criminal error, a crime over there, go and repent, and do everything to prevent this flow of migrants from over there,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.