EU Commissioner: ‘Desperate’ Belarus Profiting From Migrant Crisis

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks during a press conference with Russian President following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on September 9, 2021. (Photo by SHAMIL ZHUMATOV / POOL / AFP) (Photo by SHAMIL ZHUMATOV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

European Union Commissioner Ylva Johansson has claimed that Belarus is becoming increasingly desperate due to EU sanctions and is making an income from sending migrants illegally to the bloc.

Johansson, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, stated that Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko was “desperate” and was pushing migrants into the EU to exert pressure to hold discussions on easing sanctions.

“He has tricked and invited people to come to Minsk and then they are driven to the border with promises that you can enter Germany. They’re not refugees. Belarus is not under refugee pressure,” Johansson said, broadcaster SVT reports.

Johansson added that Belarus was charging up to £16,800/$23,200 to migrants to cross the border into the European Union and was making a profit from the nearly 16,000 who have crossed into  Poland since august of this year as well as several thousand who entered Lithuania and Latvia.

Despite the pressure on the border, which has led Poland to declare a state of emergency and approve funds for building a barrier wall, Johansson said EU member states are just as supportive of sanctions remaining against Belarus, with some suggesting adding more.

“It’s a completely illegitimate leader that we know resorts to violence and doesn’t respect human life,” Johansson said and added, “There’s no reason we should come to terms with his threats.”

The EU commissioner also noted that Lukashenko could escalate tensions, which could also put people’s lives in danger.

Earlier this month, Belarusian troops fired upon Polish troops, although no one was injured in the incident. Several migrants have already died along the border.

In response to the migration crisis on its border, Poland has also passed a law that will allow authorities to turn migrants back to the country they illegally crossed from and asylum applications from those who come to Poland illegally can be ignored.

Many of the migrants entering Poland have little intention of staying in the country and often head to Germany, which has already seen 100,000 asylum applications by the end of September of this year.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has become so concerned over the number of migrants entering from Poland, he has discussed implementing stricter border controls with the German Federal Police.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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