Sat. Nov 27th, 2021

Minsk claims further repatriation flights will take place on Tuesday as the border crisis continues.

More than 100 refugees have been flown out of Belarus, with more people scheduled to leave, according to Belarusian authorities.

The group of 118 people left the country’s national airport in the capital, Minsk, on Monday, the head of the migration department at Belarus’ Interior Ministry, Alexei Begun, told state news agency BELTA on Tuesday.

Begun said another group would fly out of the country on Tuesday, apparently indicating stronger efforts to repatriate the thousands stranded in the country.

He did not give further details on how many people were leaving or where they were going, but said the embassies of several countries – including Syria and Iraq – were arranging repatriation flights for civilians stranded in Belarus.

Begun said Belarusian authorities “help” those who want to return to their homelands and working with the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to resolve the situation.

The migration crisis began in August and has recently escalated, with thousands traveling to Belarus hoping to enter the European Union, only to be met with closed borders.

Warsaw and its Western allies blame Minsk for luring people, mainly from the Middle East, to Belarus and leading them to Poland and Latvia via Poland and fellow EU member states.

Critics say Belarus is trying to destabilize Europe in response to Western sanctions imposed on President Alexander Lukashenko’s government over alleged human rights abuses following a disputed August 2020 election that gave him a sixth term.

The 67-year-old said his government could not help resolve the situation unless the EU’s penalties were lifted.

EU rejects Minsk’s proposal to end crisis

Lukashenko last week unveiled a plan that would allow the EU member state of Germany to occupy 2,000 people now in Belarus; 5,000 others would be sent back to their homelands.

A first group of 431 people were flown back to Iraq last week on a repatriation flight.

But Lukashenko’s proposal was rejected outright by Berlin and the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission.

Humanitarian agencies say as many as 13 people have died in the border region, with many suffer in cold, damp forests with little food or water as winter approaches.

Poland has blamed Belarusian forces in recent days keep transporting people to the border, despite Minsk clearing the main camps along the barbed wire border last week.

On Monday, Lukashenko warned against further escalation, saying: “We must penetrate Poland, every Pole, and they show that we are not barbaric, that we do not want confrontation. We do not need it. Because we understand that if we go too far, war is inevitable. ”

Russia, a Minsk ally and creditor, has made further evidence of support for its neighbor after Lukashenko’s remarks, with the country’s Security Council secretary saying on Tuesday that Belarus’s Moscow’s closest ally and strategic partner “is.

Nikolai Patrushev said Russia, along with Belarus, would continue to “respond adequately to provocations, including military ones”, along their borders with other nations.

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