Exiled Belarussian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has called on President Alexander Lukashenko to cut off gas pipelines through Belarus and supply Russian gas to vital Europeans.
Earlier in the day, Mr Lukashenko warned that his country would respond to any new European sanctions linked to the Belarussian-Polish border crisis, for which Brussels blames Minsk.
“We are warming Europe and they are still threatening to close the borders. What if we close the flow of gas? So I would recommend the Polish leadership, the Lithuanians and other brainless people to think before they speak,” she said. Belarus.
“It would be more detrimental to him, to Belarus, than to the European Union, and I guess he is bluffing,” Tichanovskaya told AFP in Berlin, adding that she no longer believed in resolving the crisis through diplomatic channels.
“I would not take her (his threat) seriously, because there are also Russian interests in this matter,” she said after addressing German Foreign Minister Haiko Maas in the Bundestag on the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border.
The German Foreign Minister said that “the time has come for consequences” for Belarus over the immigration crisis it is accused of orchestrating on Europe’s borders, extending EU sanctions against Minsk. Maas added that “the European Union will expand and strengthen its sanctions against the Lukashenko regime.”
In a new telephone conversation today with Chancellor Angela Merkel, the second in two days, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the EU to re-establish contacts with Belarus in order to defuse the crisis.
But Tikhanovskaya called on the EU to take a firm stand.
“We are grateful for the attitude of European countries not to communicate with a person without law in the country, with a criminal who has committed so much torture in Belarus,” he said.
Mr Lukashenko’s re-election more than a year ago has been challenged by weeks of anti-government protests that have been violently suppressed by authorities.
Tikhanovskaya, considered by the opposition and the West to be the winner of the last election in which she faced Lukashenko, has been exiled to neighboring Lithuania.
“Immigrants are the hostages of this regime, which considers them ‘food for cannons,'” she said, calling on NGOs to help “the most vulnerable people.”
However, he considered that diplomatic channels were no longer sufficient because “this regime understands only the power of power”.
“Sanctions are perhaps the only lever the EU has to change Lukashenko’s behavior,” he said.
According to her, the sanctions should first target “organizations and companies that have been nationalized” by President Lukashenko.
He also called on European countries to talk to the countries of origin of these migrants, especially Iraq, in order to prevent their nationals from reaching Belarus.
Source From: Capital