Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko has threatened to let illegal migrants flow into the European Union in retaliation for the bloc's sanctions on his country.

The EU has targeted Belarus with economic and travel sanctions over rights abuses by Lukashenko's government.

Lukashenko said Tuesday that the EU should pay Belarus for keeping the border sealed against illegal migrants.

He says Belarus no longer wants to devote resources to protecting the EU from the migrants, some of whom he said carry drugs, explosives and other forbidden items.

Lukashenko says Belarus is tired of the EU "kicking us and calling us names."

Belarus neighbors EU members Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. It says it has in the past prevented an average of some 10,000 illegal migrants a year from crossing into the EU.