Russia’s Aeroflot Denies Transporting Migrants to Belarus

Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot has denied helping migrants and refugees from the Middle East travel to Belarus as European leaders scramble to deal with a migrant crisis on the Polish border.

A Bloomberg report that the European Commission was considering sanctioning the state-controlled airline for participating in what Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has called “human trafficking” triggered a furious response in Moscow and saw shares in the airline fall by as much as 2% at the start of trading Thursday.

“Information about the participation or assistance of Aeroflot in the organization of mass transportation of migrants to the territory of Belarus does not correspond to reality,” the airline said in a statement sent to The Moscow Times.

“Our airline does not operate regular flights to the cities of Iraq and Syria, or flights on the Istanbul-Minsk route. Charter flights to these destinations are also not carried out.”

The company said it carried only 19 official transit passengers from Beirut, Lebanon to Minsk via Moscow during the first 10 days of November. It added that no citizens of Syria or Iraq transited through Moscow or those traveling from other major transport hubs in the region, such as Istanbul or Dubai.

The situation on the border between Belarus and Poland has escalated dramatically in recent days, with thousands having traveled from the Middle East to the ex-Soviet country amassing at the Polish border hopes of crossing into the EU and claiming asylum.

The EU and Poland accuse Lukashenko of orchestrating a crisis on the bloc’s border as retribution for Western sanctions over his harsh crackdown on Belarus’ opposition and Poland’s role as a refuge for fleeing opposition figures and independent journalists.

Lukashenko on Thursday threatened to cut off gas supplies to Europe should Brussels press ahead with new sanctions against Minsk.

Dozens of special flights are departing from Middle Eastern countries to Minsk every week, and Belarus has designated special tour operators to process visa applications for citizens of Iraq and Syria.

The Kremlin has also denied having a role in the current crisis following Polish accusations of Moscow’s involvement. 

“Russia has nothing to do with what is happening on the border of Belarus and Poland. Russia, like all other countries, is trying to make efforts to resolve this situation,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters Thursday.

He also blasted the reported plans to sanction Aeroflot as a “crazy idea.”

“The company has said that it is not transporting migrants to Minsk. Besides, even if some companies were, it would in no way contradict international rules — this needs to be clearly understood,” he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to press Lukashenko to back down in a phone call Wednesday.

The EU has levied multiple rounds of sanctions against Belarus and its key industries following last year’s disputed presidential election, which saw Lukashenko claim victory and a brutal crackdown on protesters who took to the streets to oppose the official results.

Lukashenko has grown increasingly isolated over the last 18 months, and Moscow has strengthened its position as the country’s largest political and financial backer.

He has vowed to respond to any new sanctions imposed over the migrant crisis, Belarusian state media reported Thursday.

“If they impose additional sanctions on us… we must respond,” Lukashenko said in comments carried by state news agency Belta, suggesting Belarus could shut off gas transiting from Russia to the European Union through the Yamal-Europe pipeline.

AFP contributed reporting.

(c) The Moscow Times


    • Yeah. We are not in Donbas, Crimea is Russian, we didn’t shoot down MH17. Massive evidence contradicts Russian claims of innocence, and I have no doubt there is evidence that Russia are transporting these terrorists to Belarus.

  1. “Russia has nothing to do with what is happening on the border of Belarus and Poland. Russia, like all other countries, is trying to make efforts to resolve this situation,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters Thursday.

    If that was the case, retard. Russia would block any Belarus planes from entering Russian airspace that originated from the ME. If the stand by the EU and US is to be believed, we’ll soon see these migrants disappear.

    This is from Bloomberg.

    “The bloc is discussing targeting airlines including Russia’s Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines in the new package, the official said. New penalties could be announced — jointly with the U.S. and possibly the U.K. — early next month, the person said.”

    “We will widen our sanctions against Belarus, so very rapidly at the beginning of next week, there will be a widening of the sanctions against elements,” von der Leyen said. “As far as I’m informed, the United States have prepared sanctions that will be in effect at the beginning of December.”

    • Aeroflot is an instrument of the kremlin murder gang. So of course it has unmarked aircraft, un-uniformed staff etc. its staff even do a bit of poisoning when required.

      • Of course, with transponders also turned off, but I have no faith in anything the West say when it comes to sanctioning Russia. I fully expect a release of hot air, and very little else.

        • Alas, the probability you are right is very high. The Biden regime will do little except make sure Biden has a change of diaper handy and gets his ice cream in a timely fashion.

        • It’s been a great year so far for putler and putlerstan. He and his nazi friends have reiterated their lies that Ukraine is merely part of Russia. He got Biden to greenlight NS2 for his poodle Germany. Oil, gas and coal have all gone up massively. He has taken over Belarus and now is threatening to cut off Europe’s gas supplies just when the heating season has started. And now he is dumping a horde of dangerous degenerates on the EU, as well as making money out of it.
          As a bonus he is threatening Poland and Lithuania; both of which he would like to steal back.
          America must send massive air support to Poland and start moving its land forces into Poland, ready to move into Ukraine at a moment’s notice.
          If putler decides to take Kyiv, it would be over in days. All the rodent has to do is launch a massive air blitz prior to rolling in the tanks.
          Biden must act now. If putler was to take Kyiv he would simply say ‘it’s ours and we’ll respond with nukes if attacked’. I don’t say he will do that, but dictators are unpredictable.
          We are in the late stages of the putler era. What horrors are in store before the next nazi jackal takes over? America should prepare for the worst case scenario. Filth like Tucker Carlson have obviously been briefed to ramp up the pressure on the US govt to do nothing.

    • How many times have we seen this old black-and-white movie before? Putin creates a crisis and then rides in on his tiny white pony and saves the day! Besides that, didn’t everyone close their airspace to Belarussian planes………..except the RuSSia?! Or is this more word games by the Moskali at Aeroflop? They aren’t migrants, they are refugees, right?…..

What is your opinion?