Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday accused Lithuanian authorities of dumping the bodies of migrants on the border between the two countries.
The claim was rejected by Lithuania amid soaring border tensions between Belarus and its European Union neighbors.
Lukashenko also warned that his country will stand squarely behind its ally Russia if the Ukrainian authorities launch an offensive against Moscow-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.
He tried to cast the tensions over migrants as part of a purported Western plot against Belarus and Russia.
Lukashenko said at a meeting with his top military brass that Belarusian border guards found the bodies of two migrants left on the border over the weekend.
“They put a dead body, or, probably, a person who is still alive, in a sleeping bag and toss it on the border,” Lukashenko exclaimed. “What an abomination!”
Lithuania’s State Border Guard Service rejected the Belarusian claim, saying that Belarusian authorities have repeatedly tried to stage and direct beatings, the crippling or even deaths of migrants, while blaming Lithuania for such “inhumane treatment.”
The EU has accused Lukashenko of waging a “hybrid attack” against it, using desperate migrants as pawns and tricking them into trying to cross into EU members Poland and Lithuania to destabilize the entire bloc.
The EU says that’s Lukashenko’s revenge for EU sanctions imposed on Belarus after its brutal crackdown on democracy protesters.
Belarusian authorities have denied the accusations and shot back at the EU, accusing it of failing to offer safe passage to migrants.