Belarus says it has helped over 100 migrants leave | World news

By YURAS KARMANAU, Associated Press

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Belarusian authorities say they helped more than 100 migrants leave the country on Monday and that more are ready to leave on Tuesday, a statement that comes after nearly two weeks of tension on the Belarusian border with the Poland, where hundreds of migrants remain stranded.

Belarusian Interior Ministry officials said on Tuesday that 118 migrants had left the capital, Minsk, on Monday for their home countries after authorities in the former Soviet country “helped them fill in. administrative formalities and crossing the state border ”.

The authorities carry out this work “on a daily basis,” and on Tuesday another group of migrants are expected to leave Belarus, said Alexei Begun, head of the ministry’s citizenship and migration department. Begun did not mention the nationality of the migrants or the countries to which they went.

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

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Since November 8, a large group of people, mostly from the Middle East, have been stranded in Belarus at a border post with Poland, trapped as forces from the two countries clash. Most flee conflict or a sense of hopelessness at home and aim to reach Germany or other countries in Western Europe.

The West has accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of luring migrants to the border to use them as pawns to destabilize the 27-country European Union in retaliation for his sanctions against his authoritarian government. Belarus denies orchestrating the crisis, which has seen migrants enter the country since the summer and then attempt to cross through Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

Around 2,000 people are currently staying in a warehouse near the border with Poland. Lukashenko said a total of 7,000 migrants remained in the country.

Polish security service spokesman Stanislaw Zaryn estimated that around 10,000 migrants are currently in Belarus.

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 aid and the paperwork necessary to repatriate migrants.

Monika Scislowska contributed to this report from Warsaw, Poland.

Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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