Lukashenko assails EU for refusing to hold talks on migrants

·1 min read

MOSCOW (AP) — Belarus' authoritarian leader on Monday chafed at the European Union for its refusal to hold talks on the influx of migrants on the country's border with Poland.

President Alexander Lukashenko urged Germany to accommodate about 2,000 migrants who had remained on the border with Poland and criticized EU officials for refusing to negotiate an end to the standoff.

“We must demand that the Germans take them,” Lukashenko said at a meeting with officials.

The EU has accused Lukashenko's government of orchestrating the migration surge on its eastern flank as a “hybrid attack” in retaliation for the bloc's sanctions over the crackdown by Belarusian authorities on domestic protests. Belarus denies the charge.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Monday again denounced the “cynical misuse of migrants” by Lukashenko’s government.

Poland is pushing the migrants back, saying it's protecting the border for all of Europe. It has received support from the EU, NATO and the U.S.

A few migrants have died in the damp forests straddling the border. Others have abandoned hopes of reaching Europe and were flown back to their home countries this week.

Humanitarian organizations and Poland’s influential Roman Catholic Church have been pressing to be allowed to bring aid to the stranded migrants, and nongovernmental organizations in Poland have organized charity collections.

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The Associated Press

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