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EU accuses Belarus of 'direct attack' over illegal migrants

Source : 112 Ukraine

EU officials fear a repeat of the migration crisis of 2015-2016
16:14, 19 August 2021

Migrants in Lithuania
www.reuters.com

On August 18, EU countries accused Belarus of conducting "a direct attack" by pushing asylum seekers across its border and, worried about the prospect of a surge of Afghan migrants, agreed they need to strengthen their external borders in the future. Reuters reported this.

The European Union accuses Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko of orchestrating the arrival of thousands of people at the borders of Lithuania, Latvia and Poland in retaliation for sanctions imposed on the former Soviet republic.

Interior ministers of the 27-nation EU said in a statement to be issued after an emergency meeting that Belarus was seeking to "instrumentalise human beings for political purposes".

"This aggressive behaviour ... is unacceptable and amounts to a direct attack aimed at destabilizing and pressurizing the EU," they said in the statement.

The issue has become more acute in the light of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan that was completed on Sunday. Many Afghans are trying to flee the country, fearing reprisals.

Related: Latvia pushes back migrants coming from Belarus at the border

EU member states are nervous about a replay of Europe's 2015/16 migration crisis when the chaotic arrival of more than a million people from the Middle East stretched security and welfare systems and fuelled support for far-right groups.

The ministers, without direct reference to Afghanistan, said there was "a need to strengthen the entire external border" of the EU to prevent illegal crossings in the future.

Earlier, EU allocated €36.7 million to Lithuania for struggle against illicit migration.

Related: Poland to build fence on Belarus border to stop migrants

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