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EU Meeting To Discuss Surge Of Migrants From Belarus To Lithuania

Belarus Accused Of 'Provocation' As Record Numbers Of Illegal Migrants Reach Lithuania
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WATCH: Belarus Accused Of 'Provocation' As Record Numbers Of Illegal Migrants Reach Lithuania

European Union home affairs ministers will discuss a surge of illegal border crossings from Belarus to EU member state Lithuania at an extraordinary meeting on August 18, the Slovenian EU Presidency said on August 6.

Representatives of the EU border agency Frontex and Europol will also participate in the video conference, according to a letter by Slovenia to EU diplomats seen by Reuters.

"With the situation at the Lithuania-Belarus border, the EU has come under a serious security threat and is a witness of state-sponsored weaponization of illegal migration in Belarus," Reuters quoted the text as saying.

Slovenia pressed for action, saying one aim of the meeting was to agree on measures to safeguard this part of the EU's external border and to continue to support Lithuania.

The European Union summoned the Belarusian envoy in Brussels on August 5 and held talks with the Iraqi government after accusing Belarus of creating a refugee problem in response to EU sanctions.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and other EU officials have also sought a solution with the Iraqi government, which could include a suspension of flights from Baghdad to Minsk.

Lithuanian and European officials say the migrant flows are being orchestrated by Alyaksandr Lukashenka in retaliation for EU sanctions over his government's crackdown on the opposition following Belarus's presidential election nearly a year ago that was widely regarded as fraudulent.

Poland also accused Belarus on August 5 of sending a growing number of migrants over the border in retaliation for Warsaw's decision this week to give refuge to Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya who refused to return home from the Tokyo Olympics.

Based on reporting by Reuters