The authoritarian leader of Belarus told the BBC that it was “entirely possible” for his troops to help migrants enter Poland, but denies that they were invited.

In an exclusive interview in the Minsk Presidential Palace, he said to me: “I think that is absolutely possible. We are Slavs. We have a heart. Our troops know that migrants are going to Germany.”

“Maybe someone helped them.

However, he denied inviting thousands to provoke a border crisis.

“I told them that I am not holding migrants at the border, that I am holding them at the border, and if they go any further from now on I will still not stop them because they cannot come to my country. go to yours

“That’s what I meant. But I didn’t invite you here. And to be honest, I don’t want you to go through Belarus.”

Alexander Lukashenko has been in power in Belarus since 1994, but his re-election as president has been widely discredited by the West and not recognized by the EU.

He was accused by the EU of orchestrating the border crisis with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in recent months in retaliation for sanctions against Belarus for its brutal actions against opponents who took part in mass protests after the August 2020 elections, were imposed.

Thousands of demonstrators and opposition leaders were arrested and opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was expelled from Belarus after her victory. Your team has criticized the BBC for conducting the interview on Friday, which they described as “speaking to a dictator”.

I asked the Belarusian leader if peaceful demonstrators had been beaten and then tried to give him a video showing people arriving from a notorious detention center in Minsk with injuries sustained by torture.

“OK, OK, I admit it, I admit it. People were beaten in Okrestina Detention Center. But police officers were also beaten up and you didn’t show it.”

Then I asked him how he had dealt with the destruction of civil society, including the closure of 270 non-governmental organizations since July.

“We’re going to massacre all the scum that you [the West] funded. Oh, you are upset that we destroyed all of your structures! Your NGOs, whatever they are that you paid for. “

EU officials have accused the Belarusian leader of an “inhuman, gangster-style approach” to the events at the border, with the false promise of easy entry into Poland and the ultimate goal of destabilizing the EU.

At least 2,000 migrants, mostly from the Middle East, were stranded in camps near the Belarusian border with Poland until they were finally transferred to a nearby logistics warehouse this week. An estimated 5,000 migrants remain in Belarus, despite hundreds flown back to Kurdish northern Iraq on Thursday on a return flight.

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