Belarus says it has helped more than 100 migrants leave

The Belarusian authorities stated that they have helped more than 100 migrants leave the country, and more are preparing to leave

KIEV, Ukraine — Belarusian authorities said they had helped more than 100 migrants leave the country on Monday, and more people are preparing to leave on Tuesday. This was a statement issued after nearly two weeks of tension on the Belarusian border with Poland. There are still hundreds of people stuck there.

Officials from the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs said on Tuesday that 118 immigrants flew from the capital Minsk to their homeland on Monday after the state authorities of the former Soviet Union “assisted them with paperwork and crossing the national border.”

The head of the Ministry’s Citizenship and Immigration Department, Alexei Begun, said that the authorities are carrying out this work “every day” and that another group of immigrants is expected to leave Belarus on Tuesday. Bergen did not mention the nationality of the immigrants or the country they left.

Last week, more than 400 Iraqi migrants left Belarus on an evacuation flight organized by the Iraqi authorities.

Since November 8, a large number of people, mainly from the Middle East, have been trapped at the border crossing between Belarus and Poland, and the two armies have faced each other. Most people are fleeing domestic conflicts or feelings of despair and intend to travel to Germany or other Western European countries.

The West accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of inducing immigrants to the border and using them as pawns to destabilize the 27-nation European Union in retaliation for its sanctions against its dictatorship. Belarus denies that it has orchestrated the crisis. Since the summer, immigrants have entered the country and then tried to cross the border into Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

About 2,000 people currently live in a warehouse facility near the Polish border. Lukashenko said that a total of 7,000 immigrants remained in the country.

Stanislaw Zaryn, a spokesperson for the Polish security service, estimates that there are currently about 10,000 immigrants in Belarus.

Zaryn warned against interpreting the recent deportation of some immigrants as a easing of the crisis.

“These signals do not prove that the Lukashenko regime’s strategic plan has changed or retreated,” the official said. “At first glance, these decisions and these flights may seem like a easing of this crisis, but we undoubtedly believe that such a conclusion is too early.”

Officials from the International Organization for Migration and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees arrived in Belarus on Tuesday to discuss the delivery of assistance and paperwork needed to repatriate migrants.

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Monika Scislowska contributed to this report in Warsaw, Poland.

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Follow the Associated Press’s global migration report on https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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