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LONDON: G7 foreign ministers urged Belarus Thursday to end a migrant crisis on its border with Poland, accusing it of callously engineering the stand-off and putting lives at risk.

Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States charged that President Alexander Lukashenko's regime orchestrated irregular migration across its borders.

In a joint statement also signed by the EU and issued by the government in London, the ministers said: "These callous acts are putting people's lives at risk.

EU should prepare for more migrant crises: border chief

"We are united in our solidarity with Poland, as well as Lithuania and Latvia, who have been targeted by this provocative use of irregular migration as a hybrid tactic.

"We call on the regime to cease immediately its aggressive and exploitative campaign in order to prevent further deaths and suffering."

Several thousand migrants, most of them from the Middle East, are camping in freezing conditions along the Polish border in the hope of getting into the EU.

The West accuses Minsk of having deliberately created the surge, in response to sanctions imposed after the government's crackdown on opposition movements in 2020.

International organisations should be allowed "immediate and unhindered" access to migrants trapped on the border, to deliver humanitarian assistance, the ministers added.

"The actions of the Belarusian regime are an attempt to deflect attention from its ongoing disregard for international law, fundamental freedoms and human rights, including those of its own people."

In June, G7 leaders said they were "deeply concerned" by the actions of Kremlin ally Lukashenko after the forced diversion in May of a flight carrying a prominent critic, who was arrested with his girlfriend when the plane landed in Minsk.

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