The German authorities are investigating the involvement of the self-proclaimed Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in the transportation of illegal migrants to Germany, Bild reports, citing its sources.
According to Bild, the illegal transportation of migrants to the EU countries is organized "at the state level" to "coerce Europe to lift sanctions" against Minsk.
Since August, almost 4,000 migrants have arrived in Germany from Belarus, including 1,100 in the first week of October alone, the newspaper writes, citing data from the German police.
According to Bild, most of the illegal immigrants are refugees from Iraq and Syria. They fly to Minsk from Baghdad and Erbil (Iraq), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Beirut (Lebanon), Amman (Jordan), Istanbul (Turkey) and Damascus (Syria) with Belarusian student visas. After arriving in the Belarusian capital, border guards or policemen take them to the least guarded areas of the Polish border, the newspaper writes. Once in the EU, migrants are taken to Germany.
Migrants pay the Belarusian authorities up to €4,000 for assistance in illegal border crossing, Bild reports.
The migration crisis on the border of the EU countries and Belarus began after the European Union introduced sanctions against Minsk because of the forced landing of the Ryanair plane with the former editor-in-chief of the Telegram channel Nexta Roman Protasevich on board. Lukashenko then said that Belarus will no longer help Western countries control illegal migration at its borders.
The Polish authorities accused the Belarusian side of creating the migration crisis. Poland and Lithuania have imposed a state of emergency due to the growing flow of refugees. The Lithuanian authorities decided to start building a wall on the border with Belarus. Latvia also announced the strengthening of border controls.
In October, Lukashenko, responding to a question from CNN whether he was using migrants as revenge for the EU sanctions, said that "only weak people can take revenge": "Sorry for immodesty, I do not consider myself a weakling. And I do not consider it necessary to take revenge on the European Union."
Since August, Lithuania has begun the deportation of illegal migrants.