WARSAW, Aug 23 (AFP) : Four eastern EU members on Monday urged the United Nations to take action against Belarus for encouraging migrants to cross illegally into the European Union, calling it a “hybrid attack” on the bloc.

The prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in a joint statement said the influx of migrants had been “planned and systematically organised by the regime of Alexander Lukashenko”.

Thousands of migrants — mostly from the Middle East — have crossed the border in recent months in what the EU believes is a form of retaliation against increasingly tough EU sanctions.

“It is high time to bring the issue of abusing migrants on the Belarussian territory to the attention of the UN, including the United Nations Security Council,” the statement said.

“We urge the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to take active steps to facilitate the solution of this situation and to require Belarus to comply with its international obligations,” it said.

The four countries said they would take in any refugees crossing the border but would also call for “possible new restrictive measures by the EU to prevent any further illegal immigration”.

“Weaponizing refugees and immigrants threatens the regional security of the European Union and constitutes a grave breach of human rights,” the four prime ministers wrote.

The three EU countries that share a land border with Belarus — Latvia, Lithuania and Poland — are all trying to block or push back migrants who attempt illegal crossings.

In many cases, Belarusian authorities push the migrants back towards the EU border, leading to several stand-offs.

In one such stand-off, a group of Afghan migrants has been stranded on a section of the Poland-Belarus border for two weeks.

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