Iraqi Airways took off from Minsk to Baghdad with Iraqi citizens on board who changed their minds to illegally cross the Lithuanian border, convey local media.
The Boeing 747-446 can carry more than 500 passengers, but how many people took off on this flight is still unknown.
The aircraft landed at the Minsk airport in the afternoon. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said that the plane arrived without passengers and is intended to transport Iraqi citizens.
According to him, about 300 people from among potential illegal migrants are ready to return to Iraq.
On August 3, Lithuania stepped up security measures on the border with Belarus to curb the flow of illegal migrants. On Monday, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Lithuania also issued an order, according to which border guards are allowed to use force to prevent people from crossing the border in places not intended for crossing it – that is, outside the official checkpoints. Border guards should direct them to such points, reported Radio Svoboda.
More than 4,000 Belarusian migrants have crossed the border this year. Their number has increased dramatically in recent weeks, with more than 100 people being detained by Lithuanian border guards every night.
The Prime Minister of Lithuania Ingrida Shimonyte said that this is a “hybrid aggression” by the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. Vilnius believes that he is taking revenge on Lithuania for its tough position in relation to the Belarusian regime.
In early July, the Lithuanian government introduced an extreme situation in the country due to the large influx of illegal migrants from Belarus.