Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has given an extraordinary interview with the BBC in which he admits it is “absolutely possible” his forces helped Middle Eastern migrants cross illegally into the European Union.
Brussels have accused “Europe’s last dictator” of an “inhuman, gangster-style approach” to the issue. “Maybe someone helped them. I won’t even look into this… I didn’t invite them here. And to be honest, I don’t want them to go through Belarus.”
Lukashenko was also questioned on human right abuses, like protestors being abused in the Okrestina detention centre in Minsk, and the closure of dozens of non-governmental organisations and charities. “We’ll massacre all the scum that you [the West] have been financing.”
Kudos to the Beeb’s Moscow Correspondent, Steve Rosenberg, for his calm, persistent questioning towards Lukashenko, who the FT’s Gideon Rachman said looked “full of anger, menace and self-delusion”. Some have asked why Lukashenko was hot seated in the first place. It could give his regime legitimacy. The Hound is not sure whether this will strengthen Lukashenko’s case for authoritarianism.