Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday accused Lithuania of dumping the bodies of dead migrants on the border between the two countries amid the ongoing migrant crisis occurring between Belarus and European Union (EU) member countries.
As The Associated Press reported, Lukashenko said at a meeting with top military officials that border guards had discovered the bodies of two migrants over the weekend.
“They put a dead body, or, probably, a person who is still alive, in a sleeping bag and toss it on the border,” said Lukashenko. “What an abomination!”
However, the Lithuanian State Border Guard Service shot back at this accusation, claiming that Belarus has staged supposed abuses and deaths of migrants and then attempted to pin the blame on Lithuania.
International observers have accused the authoritarian Belarusian leader of manufacturing the current crisis at his country's border as a way to cause instability in the EU as a form of retribution for sanctions issued in response to crackdowns on pro-democracy demonstrators.
Lukashenko, who has held in power in Belarus for more than two decades, has frequently been referred to as "Europe's last dictator."
Most of the migrants currently stranded at the Belarus border came from African and Middle Eastern countries. Migrants and travel agents from countries like Iraq have reported that Minsk encouraged easy migration to Belarus and has since been pushing migrants to cross over into the EU.
Last week, Reuters reported that Lukashenko told migrants at the Poland border that his government would help them to return home, but would not force them to leave.
Earlier this month, the EU condemned Lukashenko, accusing him of using the migrants for his own political purposes.
"Groups of migrants are escorted by armed Belarusian security forces towards the borders of EU member states with the aim to force illegal entries," the EU said in a statement.
"This shows the cynicism of the Belarusian regime that, by stirring up the crisis at the EU’s external borders, is trying to distract attention from the situation in the country, where brutal repression and human rights violations are continuing and even worsening," the EU added.