About 4,000 Iraqis stuck on the border of Belarus and several other European countries including Poland, Latvia and Lithuania will be returning home after the government in Baghdad organized almost a dozen repatriation flights for its citizens.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said his government has been setting up the flights since mid-November, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Saturday.
The European Union says Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is pushing thousands of Middle Eastern immigrants to the border as part of a retaliation for sanctions imposed on Belarus following a crackdown on protesters after his contested reelection in August 2020.
Iraqi officials said it is difficult to get a complete count of their citizens in Belarus.
“The difficult weather and the complex environment do not allow rescuers to determine their numbers,” Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Sahaf told Agence France-Presse.
Belarus denied it was funneling immigrants to its borders with EU countries and accused them of not taking in migrants, according to RFE/RL.
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