‘Taking 2,000 Is Nothing’ Belarussian Dictator Lukashenko Demands Germany Take Migrants

Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko delivers a speech during a rally held to support him in central Minsk, on August 16, 2020. - The Belarusian strongman, who has ruled his ex-Soviet country with an iron grip since 1994, is under increasing pressure from the streets and abroad over his claim to …
SIARHEI LESKIEC/AFP via Getty Images

The communist-style dictator of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, has demanded that Germany or the EU take in 2,000 migrants, essentially blackmailing the bloc with the prospect of people “freezing” at the European border.

Lukashenko was granted an olive branch by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the migrant crisis — which he has been accused of orchestrating —  during two phone calls last week after largely being isolated from diplomatic contact with Europe for months.

On Monday, the Belarussian autocrat claimed to have told Merkel that either Germany or the European Union should accept 2,000 migrants currently amassed on the Belarus border with Poland, after allegedly being transported from the Middle East at the behest of the Lukashenko regime.

“German cities would be glad to welcome these refugees,” Lukashenko claims to have told the German chancellor, as reported by Belarussian state propaganda outlet BelTA.

“Taking 2,000 is nothing. It is not even a problem,” he relayed to the German leader.

When Merkel reportedly replied that the current crisis was not Germany’s problem, but rather the EU’s, Lukashenko said that he responded with: “Okay, I understand your bureaucracy. But it has to be done fast.”

“If you don’t, it will be a catastrophe,” Lukashenko threatened, warning “People will freeze. People will start dying.”

Lukashenko went on to claim that during the second phone call with Merkel, the two had come to an agreement on the situation, however, it was ultimately scuppered by the EU, who he said had “washed their hands and have gone away”.

“You’ve stopped having contacts and have stopped working. If you don’t want it, then we don’t need it. We will resolve this problem without you. Any way we can,” he said.

Controversy has arisen over whether Chancellor Merkel should have dignified the Belarussian strongman with a phone call at all, with exiled Belarussian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya criticising the decision.

“From the side of the Belarusian people, it looked very strange,” Tsikhanouskaya stated according to German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle. She argued that EU leaders should “refrain from any contacts” with Lukashenko so as not to legitimise the dictator.

On Sunday, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that his country will not “yield to blackmail” from the Lukashenko regime, vowing to “do everything to stop the evil threatening Europe”.

The statements were backed up by Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg, who said: “The EU must not give in to blackmail from Lukashenko. We have to respond united and very clearly to this state-sponsored hybrid attack on the European Union.”

Last week, in an interview with the BBC, Lukashenko all but admitted that his government was behind the migrant crisis, saying that “we’re Slavs… we have hearts” and therefore some of his forces may have helped migrants attempt to breach Poland’s border. Yet, the dictator said that he “won’t even look into this”.

Poland has accused Belarus of engaging in “hybrid warfare” and a former Belarussian Ambassador has claimed that Belarus is training migrants with military experience to attack the border.

At least seven Polish police officers have been injured so far during clashes on the border, with migrants hurling stones and even stun grenades at the Polish forces.

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