Correspondent in Brussels
Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko has threatened the European Union with let a “tide of immigrants” pass in response to the heavy sanctions imposed from Brussels for its crackdown on political dissidents after the fraudulent elections in 2020. The main official of the Belarusian dictatorship has openly said that it could allow the passage of thousands of refugees from different countries. such as Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq which it will authorize to enter its country.
In fact, Lukashenko has already begun to imitate the attitude of King Mohamed VI of Morocco in Ceuta and has allowed the passage of undocumented migrants to the nearest European border, which is that of Lithuania. In June, more than 410 people crossed illegally into Lithuania, a higher number than had been recorded in the sum of the previous four years. The Lithuanian Ministry of the Interior has accused the Belarusian authorities of helping immigrants to cross the border and ignore the necessary collaboration with the police officers of the neighboring country. Belarus’ attitude is seen as a response to the sanctions imposed by the EU on the regime for forcibly diverting an airliner in order to detain an exiled dissident traveling from Athens to Vilnius.
“We will not arrest anyone,” Lukashenko said in a meeting with his ministers. “People are on their way from war zones to comfortable Europe, and Germany needs workers,” he said to justify his threat. But he has also threatened to cut off the transit of European transports that cross his country to Russia and China to the point of “preventing the movement of goods through the country. Let them deliver their goods to Russia and China via Finland or Ukraine. ‘
Most of the people who have entered Lithuania are Iraqis who have flown from Baghdad to Minsk and from there simply cross the border with Lithuania without being disturbed by Belarusian border guards. The requests for legal cooperation made by the Lithuanian authorities are ignored by the Lukashenko dictatorship, which justifies the situation on the grounds that the arrival of candidates to join Europa is due to the relief of travel restrictions that would have been decreed in many countries.
It is a fact that in the first six months of this year, Lithuania has received twice as many illegal immigrants as in the previous four years combined. The vast majority of those who have crossed the border into Lithuania come from the Middle East, two-thirds are Iraqis. There are also numerous Iranians and Syrians. They pass from one country to another in groups through wooded areas thanks to the passivity of the Belarusian authorities. A quarter are children. Most of them arrive without documents or with badly damaged papers and insist on speaking only Kurdish, which greatly complicates the management of the Lithuanian police. The number of Belarusians fleeing the dictatorship has also increased, although they are a small number compared to those from the Middle East.
The issue has reached the European Parliament where this week it will be discussed in plenary. The leader of the popular group, the largest in the European Parliament, has advanced que will request the deployment of the European border agency Frontex in Lithuania to try to control the situation and has called at the same time to urge the Iraqi authorities to accept a readmission agreement to take care of citizens who do not meet the conditions to stay on European territory. According to Manfred Weber, leader of the EPP, “the EU cannot accept that a dictatorship blackmails Lithuania”.