MOSCOW  - The United Arab Emirates has barred Afghan, Syrian, Yemeni and Iraqi citizens from flights to Minsk on Monday that the European Union says were used to fly in migrants by the thousands to engineer a humanitarian crisis on its frontier.

Belarusian state-owned carrier Belavia said in a notice that the UAE cabinet's decision was issued on Sunday.

Thousands of migrants from the Middle East are sheltering in freezing conditions in the woods on the border between Belarus and EU states Poland and Lithuania, which are refusing to let them cross. Some have died and there are fears for the safety of the rest in bitter winter conditions.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova, Writing by Olzhas Auyezov and Ed Osmond) ((; +7 727 2508 500; Reuters Messaging: