Belarus moves migrants to giant warehouse

Belarus authorities on Thursday (November 18) cleared the main camps where migrants had huddled at the border with Poland, in a change of tack that could help calm a crisis that has spiralled in recent weeks into a major East-West confrontation.

Moving them to the giant warehouse, where hundreds, including young children, could be seen resting on mattresses, also eases the humanitarian emergency as they are no longer outdoors in freezing temperatures.

In another potential sign of the crisis easing, hundreds of Iraqis checked in at a Minsk airport to fly back to Iraq, the first repatriation flight since August.

However, the European Commission and Germany rejected a Belarus proposal that EU countries take in 2,000 of the migrants currently on its territory, and the United States accused Minsk of making migrants "pawns in its efforts to be disruptive", something Belarus denies - signalling tensions with the West were far from over.

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