MOSCOW, August 9. /TASS/. Iraqi passenger airlines will transport about 280 Iraqi migrants from Minsk in the next two days, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry Official Spokesman Ahmed Al-Sahaf reported on Monday.
"The Fly Baghdad company will perform a flight from Minsk to Baghdad today with more than eighty passengers on board," the Ministry’s official Facebook page quoted him as saying. The spokesman added that another evacuation flight will be carried out on Tuesday. "According to current data, about 200 people will be transported from Minsk to the Iraqi capital," he said.
The spokesman also added that "the body of an Iraqi citizen who was killed on the Belarusian-Lithuanian border will be transported to Baghdad."
According to him, "the delegation of the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Moscow, located in Belarusian capital, Minsk, has prepared all necessary procedures for the completion of the transportation of those Iraqi migrants who are currently located on Belarusian territory." He added that there is "full contact with Belarusian authorities in order to be aware of the situation on the border [between Lithuania and Belarus] and to coordinate the actions to evacuate all the migrants who wish to return home."
Currently, up to 1,000 illegal migrants from Iraq may be located on Belarusian territory, amounting to two-thirds of the entire illegal traffic, according to the Lithuanian side. Since August 3, the Lithuanian side started to take strict measures to stop the influx of migrants after the country’s Interior Ministry granted them the authority to do so. Last week, the border guards stopped about 700 migrants crossing into Lithuania from Belarus who were turned around at the border and returned to Belarus. On Saturday, about 250 migrants were expelled.
Since the beginning of the year, over 4,000 illegal migrants have been detained on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border which is 50 times more than during the entire year in 2020. At the end of May, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko stated that his country served as a barrier on the path of human trafficking to the neighboring country, however, considering the West’s political pressure, Minsk may think twice about continuing to block the flow.