Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has threatened to cut off the Yamal-Europe natural gas pipeline if European Union (EU) countries close the border with Minsk.
“We deliver heat to Europe, they still threaten us that they will close the border. And what if we cut off natural gas? Therefore, I would recommend that the Polish leadership, Lithuanians and other headless people think before speaking,” Xinhua news agency quoted Lukashenko as saying at a cabinet meeting here on Thursday.
The Yamal-Europe pipeline, operated by Russian oil and gas company Gazprom, runs across Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany.
According to Lukashenko, the volume of gas transit from Russia to Europe has increased significantly in recent days.
At Thursday’s cabinet meeting, Lukashenko also instructed relevant units to monitor the movement of Polish and other European troops.
The President’s remarks came as thousands of migrants and refugees are stuck in cold weather on the Belarus-Poland border.
Overnight temperatures at the border have fallen below freezing and some of the stranded people stranded have warned they are running out of food and water.
This crisis comes amid an escalating international row as the EU, and now NATO and the US, have accused Belarus’s authoritarian leader of provoking a renewed migrant crisis in Europe.
Many of the migrants are young men but there are also women and children, mostly from the Middle East and Asia.