Belarusian leader accuses Lithuania of throwing dead migrants –


Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attends a meeting with high-level military officials in Minsk, Belarus on Monday, November 22, 2021. (Nikolay Petrov / BelTA Pool Photo via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday accused Lithuanian authorities of dumping the bodies of migrants at the border between the two countries – a claim that Lithuania has rejected amid mounting border tensions between Belarus and its neighbors in the ‘European Union.

Lukashenko also warned that his country would strongly support its ally Russia if Ukrainian authorities launch an offensive against Moscow-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine. He tried to present the tensions over migrants as part of an alleged Western plot against Belarus and Russia.

Lukashenko said in a meeting with his senior military officers that Belarusian border guards found the bodies of two migrants left at the border over the weekend.

“They put a corpse, or, probably, a still alive person, in a sleeping bag and threw it at the border,” Lukashenko exclaimed. “What an abomination! “

The Lithuanian National Border Guard Service rejected the Belarusian request, saying Belarusian authorities have repeatedly attempted to stage and direct beatings, paralysis or even the death of migrants, while accusing Lithuania of such “inhuman treatment”.

The EU accused Lukashenko of carrying out a “hybrid attack” on the bloc, using desperate migrants as pawns and inciting them to attempt to enter EU members Poland and Lithuania to destabilize the whole block. The EU says it is Lukashenko’s revenge for the EU sanctions imposed on Belarus after its brutal crackdown on democracy protesters.

Belarusian authorities have denied the charges and retaliated against the EU, accusing it of not providing safe passage for migrants. Since November 8, a large group of migrants, mostly Iraqi Kurds, have been stranded in Belarus at a border post with Poland, trapped in freezing temperatures as forces from the two countries clash. Most migrants flee conflict or desperation in their country and aim to reach Germany or other countries in Western Europe.

Lukashenko accused Monday that Belarusian border guards also found several other migrants frozen barely alive at an abandoned farm near the border with Lithuania.

He also ordered military officials to increase the readiness of troops for NATO maneuvers near Belarusian borders.

The Belarusian leader dismissed Western concerns over Russia’s alleged plans to invade Ukraine, which also borders Belarus, saying Moscow would have informed him if he had such intentions. But echoing statements from the Kremlin, he warned Ukrainian authorities that if they tried to use force to reclaim areas controlled by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s eastern industrial center known as Donbas , Belarus would stand squarely alongside Russia.

“If they try to start a small war in the Donbass or somewhere on the border with Russia, Belarus will not stand aside, and it is clear which side it will take,” he said. .

Ukrainian authorities have expressed concern that Russian troops could use Belarusian territory to invade Ukraine. The Kremlin has denied plans to launch such an attack and accused Ukrainian authorities and their Western supporters of pretending to cover up their own allegedly aggressive designs.


Liudas Dapkus in Vilnius, Lithuania, and Yuras Karmanau in Kiev, Ukraine, contributed to this report.

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