Surge in Flights to Belarus Fuels Migrant Buildup at Polish Border


European Union officers mentioned they had been analyzing air visitors to Minsk, the Belarusian capital, as potential proof that President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of Belarus was successfully orchestrating a circulation of migrants towards E.U. international locations.

The timetable for the Minsk airport, efficient Oct. 31, reveals at least 47 scheduled flights per week from Middle Eastern areas, in contrast with not more than 23 flights per week on its earlier schedule. The extra flights embody a brand new every day route from Damascus on an Airbus A320 operated by the Syrian airline Cham Wings.

Travel businesses in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the place most of the migrants come from, have been providing packages that embody visas to Belarus and airfare both by way of Turkey or the United Arab Emirates for about $3,000.

Peter Stano, a spokesman for the E.U.’s government arm, mentioned officers had been monitoring flights from round two dozen international locations that had been ferrying migrants into Minsk — together with Morocco, Syria, South Africa, Somalia, India, Sri Lanka, Algeria, Libya and Yemen. The European commissioner for residence affairs, Ylva Johansson, mentioned the E.U. was stepping up “outreach with partner countries” to forestall migrants from coming to Belarus in the primary place.

“Our urgent priority is to turn off the supply coming into Minsk airport,” she mentioned in a tweet.

Travel brokers in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq say they’ve contracts with businesses that cost about $1,300 per visa from Belarus diplomatic missions in the U.A.E. and Turkey.

“We have more business now from people leaving for emigration than for vacations,” mentioned Sana Jamal, a journey agent in the Kurdish metropolis of Suleimaniyah.