Belarus says more than 100 refugees flew home | Refugee News

Minsk claimed that as the border crisis continues to ferment, more repatriation flights will be carried out on Tuesday.

According to the Belarusian authorities, more than 100 refugees have flown out of Belarus, and many more plan to leave.

The head of the immigration department of the Belarusian Ministry of Interior, Alexei Begun, told the state news agency BELTA on Tuesday that the group of 118 people left the national airport in the capital Minsk on Monday.

Began said that another group of people will fly out of the country on Tuesday, which shows that there is clearly a greater effort to repatriate the thousands of people stranded in the country.

He did not specify how many people will leave or where they will go, but said that embassies of several countries, including Syria and Iraq, are organizing repatriation flights for nationals stranded in Belarus.

Bergen said that the Belarusian authorities are “assisting” those who wish to return to their country and Cooperate with the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to resolve this issue.

The immigration crisis started in August and recently escalated. Thousands of people went to Belarus in hopes of entering the European Union, only to encounter closed borders.

Warsaw and its Western allies accused Minsk of inducing people (mainly from the Middle East) to enter Belarus and directing them to the EU through Poland and other EU member states, Lithuania and Latvia.

Critics claim that Belarus is trying to destabilize Europe in response to Western sanctions imposed on the administration of President Alexander Lukashenko for alleged violations after controversial elections in August 2020 gave him a sixth term in office. human rights.

The 67-year-old said that unless the EU penalties are lifted, his government cannot help resolve the situation.

The EU rejects Minsk’s proposal to end the crisis

Last week, Lukashenko proposed a plan for EU member Germany to receive 2,000 people currently in Belarus; another 5,000 people will be sent back to the country.

Last week, the first group of 431 people returned to Iraq on a repatriation flight.

However, Lukashenko’s proposal was completely rejected by Berlin and the European Commission, the European Union’s executive body.

Humanitarian agencies say as many as 13 people have died in the border area, many of them With the advent of winter, they suffer in the cold and humid forest, with little food and water.

Poland has accused the Belarusian army in recent days Continue to transport people Although Minsk cleared the main camps along the border with barbed wire last week.

Lukashenko warned against further escalation on Monday. He said: “We need to reach out to Poles, every Poles, and show them that we are not barbarians and we don’t want to confront. We don’t need it. Because we understand that if we Go too far and war is inevitable.”

Russia is an ally and creditor of Minsk. After Lukashenko’s remarks, Russia once again showed support for its neighbors. The secretary of the country’s Security Council said on Tuesday that Belarus is Moscow’s “closest ally and strategic partner”. .

Nikolai Patrushev said that Russia will work with Belarus to continue to “respond fully to provocations, including military provocations,” and border other countries along the route.

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