The Belarusian government is using migrants to blackmail Europe, according to the country’s opposition leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
In an interview with Euronews Greece in Athens, where she appeared at the Athens Democracy Forum, she explained how Belarusian authorities are putting pressure on European borders.
“All these groups of people who come to the borders, they come with KGB people, with Belarusians (secret police). They are followed by people from the system. That is why they are “organized groups,” Tsikhanouskaya said.
“Of course, it is a difficult question for Europe what to do with these people, because these migrants are also hostages of the system. They are not guilty of being victims of this regime. But you should not allow the regime to blackmail Europe.” with migrants.”
President Alexander Lukashenko plans to hold a constitutional referendum to legitimize a redistribution of power and establish a new governing body called the All Belarus People’s Assembly.
But the Belarusian opposition has said it will not recognize the result.
“Everyone in Belarus understands that this referendum is like “dust in the eyes” of Europe. Like ‘look, I’m doing something for democratization.’ I think people will be so scared because of the violence that no one will go to the polls,” Tsikhanouskaya said.
Earlier this year, in May, the opposition leader attended another democracy forum in Athens.
Two opposition supporters also attended, but were detained in Minsk on their return trip after their plane was forced to land in Belarus. It is still unclear what happened to Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega.
“We are waiting for the official results of the ICAO (the UN aviation agency) investigation. After that, we will draw conclusions and bring the culprits to justice.”
Tsikhanouskaya has already discussed with Greek Interior Minister Makis Voridis the possibility of launching international criminal proceedings over the incident.