Sunday, November 28

Belarus says camps on Polish border have been evacuated | Belarus – To the world

Belarus said the hastily built refugee camps on the border with Poland were evacuated by people on Thursday, a sign that Minsk is interested in defusing the deadly crisis that its leader Alexander Lukashenko helped create.

This crisis claimed its 13th victim on Thursday after an NGO reported that a one year old had died after his family made the dangerous trip through Belarus to the EU.

According to the Polish Center for International Aid, the child’s family came from Syria and was trapped outside in the forest for six weeks. The cause of death was not disclosed, although the child’s family is believed to have been stabbed in an attack.

Belarusian state media, along with some international media, reported that the campsite near the Polish town of Kuźnica, where people trying to cross the border were pushed back with tear gas and water cannons, was evacuated on Thursday morning. All that remained of the migrant camp were “huts, remains of tents, abandoned clothing and fire that went out,” wrote the Belarusian state media.

The Polish Border Guard confirmed: “The campsite near the border crossing in Bruzgi was deserted. The Belarusian services sent the foreigners to the transport and logistics center several hundred meters away. ”Belarus had already brought more than 1,000 migrants to the warehouse on Wednesday, where they were supplied with food.

It is unclear where they will go from there.

On Thursday, a spokesman for Lukashenko also claimed that he and Merkel had discussed creating a humanitarian corridor to Germany for 2,000 of the migrants at the border and Belarus agreed to return the remaining 5,000, mainly to their country of origin, Syria or Iraq.

The first return flight departed from Belarus on Thursday with 431 Iraqi immigrants on board, the spokesman said. The remaining people “have categorically refused to leave, but we will work on it,” they added. The flight reportedly landed on Thursday evening.

Migrants from Syria, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries have reported spending more than £ 10,000 traveling to Belarus and then hiring smugglers to help them across the border. Many have said that they have no plans to return.

“We keep our promises,” said the spokesman. “In the meantime the EU has not fulfilled any of its own obligations.”

The proposal for a secret agreement between Lukashenko and Merkel on the subject of migration is politically explosive, but the Belarusian head of state has reason to exaggerate the results of his talks with Merkel.

Germany has failed to confirm the conclusion of a humanitarian corridor agreement with Lukashenko, and media on Thursday quoted government sources denying that an agreement had been reached. The EU has confirmed that only technical talks will be held with the Belarusian government to manage the return of migrants to their home countries.

Nonetheless, European politicians have voiced their anger at Germany and Merkel for engaging directly with Lukashenko, who had not spoken to a single EU leader since his brutal crackdown on the opposition last year.

The Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis criticized the occurrence of a “separate negotiation line with the dictator, the illegitimate president”. The EU did not recognize Lukashenko as the legitimate leader of Belarus after widespread abuse and election fraud allegations were made in the 2020 presidential election.

Landsbergis also said that at least one EU government had tried to remove Belavia, the Belarusian state-owned airline, from a sanctions list agreed by EU foreign ministers earlier this week. Politico has reported that Germany and Italy are opposed to one another over one Last-Minute-Limits by the airline on flights with Iraqi, Syrian and Yemeni nationals from Istanbul. The publication also reported that a Syrian airline could be removed from the sanctions list.

Vladimir Putin, Lukashenko’s main supporter, accused the West of using the migrant crisis “as a new source of tension in a region close to us to put pressure on Minsk”. He also criticized Polish border guards for using water cannons and tear gas against children.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that Belarus’ attempts to use “migratory weapons” must be stopped.

“We have set up authorities to tighten sanctions if necessary,” Blinken told reporters during a visit to Nigeria.

“First and foremost, it does a terrible injustice to those people it has sacrificed by making them pawns.”

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