According to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus is working to return the several thousand migrants that have gathered at the Polish border.
State news agency Belta quoted Lukashenko, who stated, “Active work is under way in this area, to convince people – please, return home. But nobody wants to go back”.
He added that migrants could be transported on the Belarusian state-run flight ‘Belavian’ to Germany if Poland does not provide a “humanitarian corridor”.
“We will send them to Munich by our own planes, if necessary”.
Lukashenko also said that he doesn’t want the migrant crisis, which he has been accused of orchestrating, to result in a conflict as it would be “completely detrimental” to the country.
Belarus had already been issued with sanctions for electoral fraud and its treatment of opposition journalists.
However, it’s believed that Lukashenko orchestrated the crisis in retaliation against the EU’s sanctions.
This resulted in threats of further sanctions being issued by the EU which then lead to Lukashenko threatening to cut off its gas transit to Europe, however, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated two days ago that he was not aware of such threats being issued and didn’t recall any discussions with Lukashenko in relation to them.
According to Reuters, Putin stated that he was ready to help Belarus to resolve the migrant crisis.
Despite Lukashenko’s sudden change of tone, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Belarus faces serious sanctions and that Brussels was in no mood to back down.
“Lukashenko demands that we remove all sanctions. We will give our answer today. We will further tighten sanctions”.
IMAGE – “Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenk” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by oscepa