- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 16, 2022

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.

SEE ALSO: Latvia, Lithuania, Poland rapped over Belarus border methods

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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