The G-7 group of nations condemned what it called the Belarus government’s “orchestration of irregular migration across its borders” Thursday, as neighboring Poland reported new attempts to cross its border.
“We call on the regime to cease immediately its aggressive and exploitative campaign in order to prevent further deaths and suffering,” the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States said in a joint statement. “International organizations need to be provided with immediate and unhindered access to deliver humanitarian assistance.”
European countries accuse Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko of pushing thousands of migrants, mostly from the Middle East, to cross the border illegally in retaliation for European Union sanctions punishing Belarus for cracking down on pro-democracy protesters. Belarus has denied orchestrating the gathering of migrants at the border.
The G-7 said Thursday that Belarus is trying to “deflect attention” from its violations of international law and human rights. The statement expressed solidarity with Poland as well as two other neighbors of Belarus-Lithuania and Latvia.