VILNIUS – Authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's regime is deceiving refugees by helping them to cross in to Lithuania and causing unrealistic expectations, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis says.
"Lukashenko and his regime are taking advantage of the insecurity of people from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, making them sell their belongings, making them sell their homes as that ticket price they pay to come to the Lithuania border costs them their whole life as they leave their families, children, leave everything what they had behind to come here," the minister told the Ziniu Radijas news radio on Wednesday morning.
"It’s a fact that they will live here much better than they could live there. But, unfortunately, we don’t have now the possibility to offer them some better life, and they are living in tents until we find a way to return them back," the minister said.
He has recently discussed this problem with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein and also plans to do so with his Turkish counterpart in several weeks time.
"Our message was that it's unacceptable and that we need to find a way to prevent those people from being fooled and not to be given wrong and unrealistic promises," Landsbergis said.
Some 498 illegal migrants, mainly Iraqi citizens, have been detained in Lithuania after crossing int from Belarus, which is six times more than through the whole year of 2020. Lithuanian officials suspect it’s the result of an operation organized by the Belarusian regime.