Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko on Thursday demanded that the European Union pay for the repatriation flights of nearly 2,000 undocumented migrants, who have been stranded on the Belarusian-Polish border for more than three weeks after a flight to Iraq , program for Thursday, has been canceled, reports EFE.
“If you want to leave, please! We will gather (the migrants) at the airport. But I see that they did not send a plane today,” Lukashenko said at a meeting at the Independence Palace on amendments to the Constitution being prepared by a group. according to the official Belta news agency.
The last flight was canceled due to a problem with the costs of the repatriation operation, the Minsk leader explained.
“How much does such a flight cost? And he has no one to pay for it. Then the European Union should pay!” Lukashenko said.
The Minsk regime leader lamented that the EU has allocated “millions” of euros for emergency humanitarian assistance to migrants in Belarus, but “no money has reached here”.
The EU has indeed allocated 700,000 euros in humanitarian aid to migrants in Belarus, but will allocate these funds to organizations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), among others, and not to the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko, whose legitimacy it does not recognize it after the controversial 2020 presidential election, which it considers fraudulent.
The European Commission will also provide up to € 3.5 million to facilitate the voluntary return of Belarusian migrants to their countries of origin.
According to Belarusian Secretary of State Aleksandr Volfovici, about 200 migrants were waiting at Minsk airport on Thursday to return home to Iraq, informs Agerpres.ro.
However, the flight was canceled, a source at the Iraqi Embassy in Moscow told EFE.
There will be no repatriation flights today. Maybe tomorrow or the day after, the diplomat said, adding that “many people” registered with the authorities to be repatriated, without providing an exact figure or explaining why Thursday’s flight was canceled.
A first plane with 431 people on board, mostly Iraqis, who wanted to leave Belarus for Iraq took off from Minsk on November 18.
Belarusian state agency Belta filmed on Thursday outside the makeshift logistics center hosting the nearly 2,000 migrants stranded at the border since November 16, a group of people it referred to as a “spontaneous rally.”
In Belta’s short videos, you can see banners written in English with slogans such as “We have come for a better life!”, “Our leaders are mobsters!”, “We have no freedom in Kurdistan!” or “We can’t go back to Iraq!”