WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Wednesday released the following statement condemning Belarus for sending refugees to the Polish border.

“Anyone who cares about the future of independent democracies in Europe should care about this hybrid warfare campaign. This is yet another reminder of the importance of standing with our EU and NATO partners, and of protecting refugees everywhere. The stories and images coming from the Belarusian border are harrowing, and we have an obligation to call out the bad actors who are needlessly putting refugees in harm’s way,” said Murphy. “I have no doubt that Lukashenka is carrying out this campaign with Vladimir Putin’s oversight. It is a manufactured crisis designed to destabilize the EU and NATO, which is exactly what the Kremlin wants. I expect the Biden administration will take further steps to respond to these inhumane actions, including additional coordinated sanctions against Lukashenka’s government if they do not immediately cease instrumentalizing human beings as a political weapon.”

In August, Murphy released a statement after the Biden administration placed additional sanctions on the Lukashenka regime. Earlier this year, Murphy along with U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) traveled to Lithuania and Ukraine to reaffirm U.S. commitment to regional partners and strengthen democratic reforms. In Lithuania, Murphy, Shaheen and Portman met with Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Vilnius to discuss the Lukashenka regime’s increasing human rights abuses against political opposition, including the recent hijacking of a civilian airliner to unlawfully arrest and detain journalist Raman Pratasevich.