Washington is using the migrant crisis to stage a conflict with Belarus, the country's embattled leader Alexander Lukashenko has declared, in his latest tirade against the West, as the region's border humanitarian crisis drags on.
Speaking as participant in a government meeting on Thursday, the veteran strongman alleged that the US, "with the hands of the Poles, the Baltic states and the Ukrainians," wants to start a conflict to "create a mess somewhere around here again."
America "will stand by and supply weapons so that we kill each other and the economy sinks. They will come back with the dollar, which they are printing now, to 'help' us," the Belarusian leader claimed.
Lukashenko went on to denounce NATO's potential role in the refugee crisis on the border between his country and the EU as nothing more than a provocation for a full-blown assault. "Europe doesn't want war. Who needs this war? The Americans."
Speaking later from a migrant camp near the border, Lukashenko claimed that Poland was blocking a deal to allow people to be resettled in Germany, saying that "Europe will choke" unless a solution is found.
His comments come after neighboring Poland deployed thousands of soldiers, police officers and border guards to the shared frontier amid a sharp rise in migrants, predominantly from Middle Eastern nations, attempting to cross from Belarus over to the EU. The bloc accuses Minsk of arranging flights for refugees and migrants from troubled countries like Syria and Iraq and forcing these to storm the border fences as part of a "hybrid war" against Brussels.
In an interview earlier this month, Lukashenko acknowledged it was possible some of his officials were helping desperate people to cross illegally into Poland, but insisted it wasn't worth investigating. He has previously argued that the country is no longer able to prevent the flow of migrants attempting to cross over the border due to sanctions imposed by Brussels.
Neighboring Ukraine, which shares a 1,084 kilometer border with Belarus, has claimed it is concerned would-be asylum seekers could try to enter the country, despite it not being an EU member state.
On Thursday, Kiev's border guards and police officers staged a joint drill to practice their response if migrants attempted to cross into its territory, though officials have acknowledged there currently was no such crisis. Meanwhile, the country's minister of internal affairs, Denis Monastirsky said that Kiev needs billions of dollars to beef up its eastern boarders with high-tech alarm systems, unmanned aerial devices and barbed-wire barriers and fencing.
Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed that Belarus' actions "threaten security, sow division, and aim to distract from Russia's activities on the border with Ukraine."
Moscow, however, has said that it is not playing a part in the situation. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has also denounced rumors of Russian troops amassing near Ukraine's borders, maintaining that his country "poses no danger to anyone."