All news

Lukashenko vows to urge Berlin to take in refugees, but Minsk ready to handle problem

The Belarusian president noted that the EU shies away from contacts over the migration crisis
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Sergei Sheleg/BELTA/TASS
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko
© Sergei Sheleg/BELTA/TASS

MINSK, November 22. /TASS/. Minsk will urge Berlin to accept refugees who are stranded on the Belarusian-Polish border, but it is ready to handle this situation on its own, BelTA agency quoted Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko as saying on Monday.

"We will cope with these people ourselves if Berlin does not take them in. What are we supposed to do? There’s no other way around it. But we should urge Berlin to take them in," he stressed as he listened to a report by Governor Vladimir Karanik of the Grodno Region and Grodno Oblast Inspector Yuri Karayev.

Lukashenko noted that the EU shies away from contacts over the migration crisis. "I’ve been waiting for the EU’s decision on 2,000 refugees. We have around 2,000 refugees in this camp. I asked them [the European Union and Germany in particular] to take them in. They said that [Germany’s acting Chancellor Angela] Merkel promised me that they would consider this problem at the EU level. However, it is not even being considered. The decision was made by the EU, and contact individuals [were assigned]. These contact persons have not even gotten in touch. Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs [Vladimir] Makei calls them, saying "Let’s come to grips with this problem". They answer that they are on a business trip, or somewhere else," the Belarusian leader said.

Lukashenko also accused international organizations that some of their representatives come to Belarus "using the refugees for publicity points". "The Europeans insist, and Merkel spoke to me in conversation: "Mr. President, let in the International Organization for Migration, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner." I responded, "We don't have a problem." But I can already see that some people have come here for the umpteenth time. Why would they come here? To show off against the background of these refugees," he added. But I’ve already seen that some representatives come here once again. Why do they come here? For publicity amid the migration crisis," he added.

Lukashenko stressed that such people should not be at the border. "If you come here, help us. If you can’t organize a humanitarian corridor, then tell us why you can’t. Help these people with something for their daily existence, please, you all have experience. These international organizations also have huge financial resources there. Apart from the Belarusian Red Cross and our deputies, and representatives from our government, no one else is engaged in this. Yet, they come here to scratch the babies’ noses. Why are you scratching their noses with dirty hands? For a publicity stunt in front of the cameras, of course," he said.

The Belarusian leader highlighted the necessity to improve the lives of refugees stranded on the border and optimize humanitarian aid. "To dress them, to provide shoes, to feed (them), to provide warmth and give them medical aid. These people coming from a southern [climate] spent 10-13 days in our forest. Surely, it's hard. We need to make sure that children do not get sick, that pregnant women are taken care of, and so on," he specified.