Belarus temporarily moves migrants
State-run media reported that Belarusian soldiers escorted most of the migrants amassed at Poland’s border to a nearby heated warehouse to escape the cold. Migrants inside say authorities are providing mattresses, hot water, and meals but not enough. Several refugees said they spent a lot of money to get to Europe and do not want to return to the Middle East. The Iraqi Embassy in Russia, however, said 430 of its citizens at the Belarus-Poland border have registered for flights home, the first of which left Thursday afternoon. A United Nations refugee agency spokesperson said roughly half of the estimated 7,000 migrants are women and children. At least 12 have died in recent weeks, including a 1-year-old.
What is Belarus going to do with the migrants? President Alexander Lukashenko said he proposed a solution to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to open a “human corridor,” allowing 2,000 migrants to resettle in Germany, but Germany’s interior minister called it false information. Lukashenko said Belarus would try to convince the remaining migrants to return to their home countries. Several European Union nations have blamed Lukashenko for “migrant smuggling” by sending refugees to the border to pressure Poland. The Polish Defense Ministry said the border crisis does not pose a military threat, but it posted a video showing some migrants are still encamped along the razor-wire fence.
Dig deeper: Listen to Jenny Lind Schmidt’s report on Christians living in Belarus on The World and Everything in It podcast.
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