EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell calls Lukashenko "a dictator"Europost
The EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, in a break with usual diplomatic practice, called Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko "a dictator" in the European Parliament on Tuesday, dpa reported. "I agree with all of you, we are facing a dictator," Borrell told parliamentarians during a plenary debate in Strasbourg. He also stressed the need to continue exerting pressure on Lukashenko.
The EU has adopted several sanctions packages against Lukashenko and his supporters, most recently over the forced landing in Minsk of a Ryanair passenger flight between Athens and Vilnius and subsequent arrest of a dissident journalist and his partner. Belarusian airlines have in response not been allowed to fly into EU airspace since the weekend.
The Minsk government's attempts to suppress ongoing protests in the former Soviet republic had earlier led the bloc to sanctions.
Less than a week before a NATO summit, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Tuesday his country's defences need to be bolstered in light of the rising threat posed by neighbouring Belarus.
Lukashenko's latest threat is to allow migrants to move through his country on their way to the EU. Lithuania has a nearly 680-kilometre border with Belarus, which is part of the EU's external border.