German Chancellor Angela Merkel has accused Belarus of using refugees to “undermine security.” Her remarks come as the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan fuels concerns that thousands of people could try to flee to Europe.a group of people standing in a tent: Thousands of people are already in refugee reception centers in Lithuania© Mindaugas Kulbis/AP/picture alliance Thousands of people are already in refugee reception centers in Lithuania

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday condemned Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for using refugees as a way to put pressure on the EU.

Merkel was speaking after a meeting with Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, whose country is helping fellow EU member Lithuania cope with a migrant surge on its border with Belarus.

“President Lukashenko is using refugees, for example from Iraq, in a hybrid way to undermine security, and, of course, we condemn this in the strongest possible terms,” Merkel said at a news conference with Kallas.

EU officials accuse Minsk of deliberately allowing people to pass illegally into the bloc to force it to lift sanctions imposed for the mistreatment of the political opposition after the disputed 2020 presidential election.

More than 4,000 migrants and refugees have reportedly crossed into Lithuania this year, compared with fewer than 100 in the whole of 2020. Other EU member states bordering on Belarus have also seen a strong rise in migrant arrivals.map: Provided by Deutsche Welle© Provided by Deutsche Welle Provided by Deutsche Welle

What else did Merkel and Kallas say?

“We are closely coordinating with European partners on everything. We will also try to take a common position because this hybrid kind of confrontation, as used by Belarus, is an attack on all of us in the European Union,” Merkel said.

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