The Belarusian border force has cleared a migrant camp at the Polish border that had up to 2,000 occupants.
Pictures of the abandoned camp were published with border guards stating, via the Telegram messaging service; “On the 18th of November, all the refugees at the makeshift camp at the Belarus-Poland border, near the Brouzgui crossing point, have been moved, on a voluntary basis, to a logistics centre”.
Over 1,000 people were already moved to the centre on Tuesday, while 800 remained outside in below-freezing temperatures, according to Minsk.
This last group was also moved as weather conditions deteriorated further. This relocation comes amid weeks of tensions between Belarus and EU officials, who accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of orchestrating the migrant crisis with assistance from Russia.
However, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lukashenko have denied the accusations.
According to Polish media, 11 migrants have died at the border since the crisis began back in August.
Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with Lukashenko twice over the phone to discuss the situation.
Following the second call on Wednesday, the first repatriation flights for migrants landed in Iraq.
Lukashenko’s spokeswoman said that there was approximately 7,000 migrants in the country in total and that Belarus would take responsibility for sending 5,000 of the migrants home if they want to go.
She also alleged that Angela Merkel would negotiate with the EU on creating the humanitarian corridor to Germany, which Berlin has denied.
IMAGE – Olaf Kosinsky/”Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenk” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by oscepa