EU envoy: Iraq-Belarus flights may be cancelled for next ten days

Belavia plane. Photo: Belsat

Iraq-Belarus flights which are to take place in the coming ten days are expected to be cancelled, Martin Huth, EU Ambassador in Baghdad, announced on Wednesday evening.

“From several sources, we have heard that flights are cancelled over the next ten days. It seems to be very reliable information. It seems that this has gone from Iraq Airways to all travel agencies in the country,” Delfi quotes the diplomat with reference to news agency BNS.

He stressed that by that moment, the Iraqi airline had not officially confirmed the information yet.

According to the top diplomat, the Iraqi government has formed a special committee and tasked it with probing into the illegal carrying of their compatriots to Lithuania via Belarus.

Iraqi citizens account for about two thirds of the irregular migrants detained by the Lithuanian forces at the Belarusian-Lithuania border in 2021. They got to Minsk by planes from Baghdad; as reported earlier, it was planned to open flights from Basra, other big cities of Iraq – Basra, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah.

Lithuanian border guards detain record number of migrants on border with Belarus

The total number of migrants illegally crossing the Belarusian-Lithuanian border in 2021 has exceeded 4,000, which is tens of times more than in the whole year of 2020. As reported earlier, in response to Western sanctions imposed on the regime, Alyaksandr Lukashenka threatened to loosen control over the flow of migrants and banned substances (even nuclear materials) at the border with the European Union.

Lithuania accuses the Belarusian border guards of ignoring the trespassers and even assisting them in their illegal moving, calling the current situation ‘the hybrid aggression’. The European Union sent employees of the EU Agency for External Border Security (Frontex) to Lithuania in order to strengthen the protection of the the EU-Belarus border from illegal migrants.

On August 3, Lithuania’s border service started to turn back illegal migrants entering the country from the territory of Belarus.

Night in neutral zone. Reportage about migrants on Lithuanian-Belarusian border