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EU's claims about Minsk's, Moscow's involvement in border crisis hysterical — Lavrov

Latvia and later Lithuania faced a problem of illegal migration from Belarus

MOSCOW, November 1. /TASS/. Semi-hysterical claims by officials in some EU countries to the effect Belarus and Russia are involved in the refugee border crisis are unworthy of serious politicians, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Rossiya-24 round-the-clock television news channel in an interview. 

"Semi-hysterical claims being heard from some EU countries Belarus has been masterminding these flows with Russia's support are unworthy of serious politicians. This indicates that they are already in a situation where they are aware of their incapacity, including international legal one, so they succumb to hysteria," he said.

Lavrov said that those trying to get into the European Union from Belarus were reluctant to stay in Belarus, the EU being their desirable destination. The demands Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Belarusian law enforcers should stop the migrants disagreed with international law, including humanitarian law, he pointed out.

Lavrov stressed that a similar situation existed in Italy.

"Italy's former interior minister, Matteo Salvini, refused to accommodate refugees in Italy. He said that on their way they had crossed several EU countries and had every opportunity to ask for accommodation there. Now Salvini is faced with the risk of standing trial for endangering the lives of refugees that were trying to escape from grave, disastrous conditions in which they had to exist. But what is the difference then between the Baltic countries' and Poland's policies and those for which Italy's former government minister may be put on trial? There are many double standards," he concluded.

Latvia and later Lithuania faced a problem of illegal migration from Belarus. Since August 10, attempts by a total of 1,903 migrants to cross the border illegally were upset. Since the beginning of the year, 402 persons have been detained. The Latvian government introduced a state of emergency regime on the border from August 11 to November 10 to enable the border guards expel illegal migrants back to Belarus. The Cabinet of Ministers has now prolonged the state of emergency till February 10, 2022.

On October 6, Latvia started building a temporary barbed wire fence to resist illegal migration from Belarus. On October 18, the government supply agency said 12 kilometers of the fence was already in place. It is expected that the fence will be finalized by the end of November. The fence is being created along those sections of the border which the border guard service identified as priority ones.