Russia criticized Saturday a new round of sanctions against Belarus that is being held responsible for the migrant crisis at the Polish-Belarusian border.
“These sanctions are illegitimate, like any restrictions imposed in circumvention of the United Nations Security Council. They are inhumane due to their negative impact on the lives of ordinary citizens of Belarus,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement about the penalties imposed by the EU, US, UK and Canada.
The statement argued that the new sanctions that took effect Thursday are politically biased and an example of interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.
Urging western countries to act to resolve the migrant crisis in cooperation with Belarusian authorities, the statement said: “The history of previous migration crises proves that their solutions can be found only through close cooperation between the countries of origin, transit and destination of migrants.”
The EU accuses Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of taking revenge against EU sanctions imposed on his regime for human rights violations related to a crackdown on protests against last years’ rigged presidential elections, the diversion in June of a Ryanair flight to the capital of Minsk and the detention of Belarusian journalist Raman Pratasevich.
According to the EU, the regime reached out to potential travelers via seemingly official channels and invited them to Belarus by offering visas and guiding them to the EU border.
NATO and the EU consider Belarus’ approach to migrants a hybrid attack meant to destabilize and undermine security in European countries through non-military means.