“We have information that there will be two flights today to Erbil (the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan). These repatriations are not funded by the European Union. The current repatriation activities are organized by the Iraqi authorities and they are the only ones competent to respond to hours and other details of repatriation flights for Iraqi nationals stranded in Belarus.” .

“We support these and other measures by the Iraqi authorities to save and protect Iraqi citizens from violations by criminal organizations and human smuggling,” he noted.

And the Belarusian authorities announced, on Thursday morning, that the Iraqi plane did not come to Minsk because “the European Union did not pay for the flight.” A State Department spokesman said he had heard of the matter “from the media”.

Alexander Lukashenka also spoke about the fact that the plane did not come, because “they did not send the plane.” He noted that the flights “must be borne by the European Union.”

In the afternoon, Minsk Airport announced that on Thursday evening and Thursday evening, two planes will fly to Iraq, and those who wanted to return to the country will be transferred. Similar information was provided to the media by the Iraqi consul in Moscow, who is based at Minsk airport.

Belarusian media reported that several hundred people who “want to return to Iraq” are currently waiting at Minsk airport. However, it has been proven that at least some of these people were arrested on Thursday and taken to the airport. At the airport, they are in a “restricted area” guarded by police officers.

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A week ago, about 400 people were on board the first repatriation flight of Iraqi Airways from Minsk. The plane landed first in Erbil, where most of the passengers got off, and then in Baghdad. Some people return to Iraq at their own expense, for example by stopping in Dubai.

The West accuses Belarus of creating an artificial crisis by providing migrants with visas in retaliation for the sanctions imposed on Minsk. The Belarusian authorities reject these accusations.