Belarus’s leader, Alexander Lukashenko has threatened to cut off gas supplies to Europe if sanctions are imposed over an escalating migrant crisis at the country’s border.
Thousands of people are at the border with Poland, enduring freezing conditions in the hope of crossing into the European Union.
EU officials have accused Belarus of provoking the crisis to undermine its security, an allegation it denies.
In retaliation, the EU is reportedly planning a fresh package of sanctions.
But on Thursday the country’s long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko warned: “If they impose additional sanctions on us… we must respond.”
“We are heating Europe, and they are threatening us,” he said, referring to a Russian gas pipeline that runs through Belarus and into the EU.
He added; “And what if we halt natural gas supplies? Therefore, I would recommend the leadership of Poland, Lithuanians and other empty-headed people to think before speaking,” .
His comments raised fresh fears amid worsening natural gas shortages and rising prices in Europe.