Belarus says over a hundred migrants have left the country

Belarus says over a hundred migrants have left the country
118 migrants left Belarus on Monday according to the country's interior ministry and more are set to depart on Tuesday.
2 min read
23 November, 2021
Belarus has been accused of pushing thousands of migrants, many of whom are from the Middle East, into the EU via Poland, Lithuania and Latvia [source: Getty]

Belarus' interior ministry said on Tuesday 118 migrants had left the country a day earlier and more would depart on Tuesday, Russia's TASS news agency reported.

The European Union accuses Belarus of flying in thousands of people from the Middle East and pushing them to cross into the EU bloc via Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

It is widely believed this is in retaliation for EU sanctions imposed on Minsk over President Alexander Lukashenko's crushing of protests against his disputed re-election last year. 

Lukashenko said Monday that the European Union was refusing to discuss the fate of 2,000 migrants wishing to go to Europe and stranded in Belarus.

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"I am waiting for the EU to respond on the issue of 2,000 refugees," Lukashenko told officials on Monday, adding that he expected Europe to let the migrants in.

"They said, [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel promised me that they will consider this problem at the level of the European Union. But they are not doing it," he said, quoted by state news agency Belta.

"We should demand that the Germans take them in," Lukashenko said.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday that Berlin made clear last week that was not acceptable.

"The idea that there could be a humanitarian corridor to Germany for 2,000 migrants... is not an acceptable solution for Germany or the EU," he said.

Last week Lukashenko and Merkel spoke by phone twice, discussing the migrant situation and agreeing to maintain contacts.

The migrants, many of whom are fleeing war and poverty, are faced with squalid, freezing conditions once they reach the Belarus border.