Lukashenka’s press service: 7K migrants now in Belarus, up to 2.5K of them not far from EU border

On Thursday, Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s spokeswoman Natallya Eysmant updated state pro-government media outlets on the migrant situation in Belarus.

Photo: BelТА

Currently, there are about 7,000 migrants in the territory of Belarus, she says.

“About 2,000 of them are in the makeshift camp at the border. According to available information, from 200 to 500 are scattered across various sections of the border,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes her.

She claims that in the course of his recent conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Alyaksandr Lukashenka suggested the EU create a humanitarian corridor for 2,000 migrants, and Belarus, in turn, ‘facilitate the return of the remaining 5,000 home’.

At the same time, ‘the only condition’ is the migrants goodwill, she noted. The Belarusian authorities are not going to force anyone back into Iraq, Syria or other countries, Eysmant stressed.

HR Borrell: ‘Entry in EU is only possible through legitimate border crossings’

Last week, amid the ongoing migration crisis at the Belarusian-Polish border, the European Union was reported to be close to imposing more sanctions on Belarus, targeting some 30 individuals and entities including its foreign minister Uladzimir Makey and Belarus’ national air carrier Belavia. In the course of meeting with US leader Joe Biden, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the EU wouldwiden sanctions against Belarus very rapidly’.

On November 15, the Council of the EU amended its sanctions regime against the Belarusian authorities by broadening the listing criteria on which specific designations can be based. The EU is now able to target individuals and entities organising or contributing to activities by the Lukashenka regime that facilitate illegal crossing of the EU’s external borders.

On the same day, Lukashenka and Merkel had a phone conversation. According to Lukashenka’s press service, they discussed ‘several issues, primarily the situation with refugees on the Belarusian-Polish, Belarusian-Lithuanian, and Belarusian-Latvian borders’. Later, when asked to comment on the conversation, Estonia’s Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets said that the Belarusian politician expressed readiness to pull the plug on the current migration crisis, but in exchange for the West’s recognising him as president and lifting sanctions imposed on the regime.

Belarus officers took part in Tuesday’s migrant attack on border, Polish police claim

On November 16, a group of migrants who were seeking to illegally cross the Belarus-Poland border, started to throw stones, logs, metal pieces at Polish border guards from the Belarusian side. To stop the attackers, Polish officers resorted to using tear gas and water cannons.

On Wednesday evening, Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Angela Merkel talked via telephone one more time; according to Merkel’s press secretary Steffen Seibert, the German politician ‘pointed up the necessity for providing the people affected with humanitarian aid and opportunities to return [to their countries] with the support of UN Refugee Agency, UN International Organisation for Migration and in cooperation with the European Commission’.

As reported earlier, over 430 Iraqi citizens registered for the first ‘evacuation’ flight Minsk – Erbil – Baghdad that have taken place today.

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