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Belarus not forcing migrants to return home, Lukashenko states

At the same time, the migrants are "recommended to decide on their further fate," the Belarusian President noted

MINSK, December 13. /TASS/. Belarus does not force migrants to leave the republic and return to their homeland, President Alexander Lukashenko said.

"Tell me just a single fact, name me a single person being forced to return to their homeland, and I will deal with that personally. We are not barbarians, we do not force people back where they may face death. People are not merely unable to live there: they realize that they will die if they return. This is why we make a point not to force people back," the Belarusian leader said in an interview for Turkey’s TRT, partially published by BelTA Monday.

At the same time, the migrants are "recommended to decide on their further fate," Lukashenko noted.

"There is winter outside, and you see how cold it is. They and their children will simply not survive there," he noted. "We are serving them constantly: both commercially and in social services, starting from food, clothes, showers, laundry and up to medical treatment, especially for children. However, it does not come cheap for us, so the people must decide what they will do today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. We motivate them to that, but we will never force them home."

Should the migrants decide to stay in Belarus, then this will be regulated by the law, Lukashenko added.

"Should the people refuse to go to Europe, we will urge them to return home. Should they propose some other options, should they desire to stay in Belarus, then we have a law for that, and we will act in accordance with the law," he noted.

The migration crisis at the Belarusian border with Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, where the migrants traveled to en masse, escalated on November 8. Several thousand people approached the Polish border, some tried to break into Polish territory by breaking barbed wire barriers. Later, about 2,000 people were accommodated in the logistics center in Bruzgi near the border.

Previously, Lukashenko said that about 2,000 to 3,000 more refugees from the Middle East, not accommodated at the logistics center, remain in Belarus. Iraqi authorities disclosed that, by December 12, they had repatriated over 3,500 migrants from the border region.