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Lukashenko is 'using human beings' in an 'extreme act of aggression towards the EU', says Johansson

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By Jack Parrock
European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, June 2, 2021.
European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, June 2, 2021.   -   Copyright  Johanna Geron/AP
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“What we see from Lukashenko is an extreme act of aggression towards the European Union," Ylva Johansson told Euronews on Wednesday.

"He’s using human beings in an instrumentalised way. This is totally unacceptable."

"This is really, really a dangerous way to act. So I think it's important that we stand together against Lukashenko and what he's doing," she said.

Speaking in Brussels, Johansson also said that she believes countries like Lithuania and Greece have the right to build border fences as it’s their job to defend their border, which is the EU external border. As long, of course, as those fences comply with their obligations under international law.

"Member states are in a position to decide how they protect their external borders and they are the best ones to assess how to do that," she said.

Lithuania have recently launched an ambitious project to build a 550-kilometre fence along its border with Belarus.

MPs approved the barrier earlier this month after a surge in the number of migrants arriving at Lithuania's frontier. Around 4,100 have illegally crossed into Lithuania from Belarus so far this year, according to the interior ministry. It compares with just 74 last year.

"What I see from Lithuania, for example, is they need to protect their external borders and they are also obliged to protect their external borders from unauthorised entry. And if they assess that they need a fence towards an aggressive neighbour like Lukashenko, I can understand that," Johannson said.

The European Commissioner for Home Affairs also answered much-anticipated questions on the EU's plans regarding the reception of Afghan migrants. She asserted that the EU needs to "stick together".

"We learned a lesson from 2015, that we act together. We should not wait until people end up on our borders."