Via Belarus route: illegal entry into Germany is decreasing

Via Belarus route
Illegal entry into Germany is decreasing

The number of people illegally entering Germany via the Belarus route is decreasing. At the same time, the situation at the Polish-Belarusian border crossing in Kuznica is worsening. Meanwhile, the EU is tightening sanction requirements.

The number of migrants and refugees entering Germany via Belarus is falling. According to preliminary figures from the security authorities, a total of around 225 unauthorized entries on this route were registered from Friday to Sunday. In the same period last week, almost 400 foreigners who had previously been in Belarus had entered the country. According to the German authorities, measures taken by the Polish border guards are one reason for the decline. Meanwhile, the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border is worsening, where, according to the Polish authorities, thousands of migrants gather at a border crossing. Poland expects a storm on the border. Meanwhile, the EU decided to tighten sanctions against Minsk.

Drone image from the Bruzgi-Kuznica Bialostocka border crossing on the Belarusian-Polish border.

(Photo: via REUTERS)

The migrants stuck in Belarus should be able to return safely to their respective home countries – “In addition to the humanitarian aid that is now due, this is the right way for those who are in the border area,” said government spokesman Steffen Seibert when asked whether it was Considerations for admitting some of these people in Germany or other EU countries.

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also spoke out against accepting refugees from the EU border area with Belarus in Germany. After consultations with his EU colleagues in Brussels, Maas called this an important signal to Belarus and possible imitator countries that “the EU cannot be blackmailed”. He advocated bringing all people back to their countries of origin.

The EU accuses the authoritarian Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko of smuggling people in from crisis areas and then pushing them towards the EU’s external border. For a week now, thousands of migrants have been waiting for help in the cold in the border area between Poland and Belarus. Some of them come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Yemen.


Migrants stand in front of rows of Polish security forces.

(Photo: via REUTERS)

“Belarus is waging a hybrid campaign against the unity of Europe and is abusing the suffering of the refugees in an inhuman way for political purposes,” said a spokesman for the German Foreign Office. Germany stands here “in solidarity at the side of its partners and allies”.

Poland expects a storm on the border

Meanwhile, the situation in the border area between Poland and Belarus is becoming more and more desperate: According to Polish information, more and more migrants are gathering on the Belarusian side of the Kuznica transition at the EU external border between Poland and Belarus. According to the police, around 3,500 people have now gathered there, tweeted the spokesman for the coordinator of the secret services, Stanislaw Zaryn. He also posted a video with aerial photographs. They show a large crowd at the clearance facilities of the closed border crossing on the Belarusian side.

The Department of Defense tweeted that the camp nearby was practically empty. According to the information, there are also provocations by Belarusian uniformed men. “The sound of gunshots, presumably from blind ammunition, is one of the everyday occurrences that our soldiers and officials have to deal with.” Poland is preparing “for any scenario” in the face of expected attempts to breach the border. Warsaw accuses Minsk of preventing people from leaving the border region.

“Belarusian troops are bringing more and more groups of migrants to the Kuznica border crossing,” said the Polish Ministry of Defense. Videos from Polish border troops and the military showed hundreds of migrants in front of rows of Polish police officers and soldiers. The videos of the Polish authorities could not be independently verified as journalists are denied access to the border area.

EU criminalises the instrumentalization of migrants

In Brussels, the EU foreign ministers decided to further tighten the sanction requirements. This means that the EU can now criminalize “the instrumentalization of migrants for political purposes”. The new punitive measures are intended to affect airlines, travel agencies and other responsible persons who participate in smuggling. According to diplomats, the exact list of sanctions will be drawn up in the coming weeks.

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas threatened to withdraw airlines from third countries from overflight and landing permits in Europe. The EU had already imposed a corresponding ban on Belarusian airlines in May.

Lukashenko announced that his country was trying to return the refugees to their home countries. However, “these people are very stubborn”, nobody wants to return. Belarus does not want the situation on the border to develop into a “conflict” with Poland, Lukashenko said.

At the same time, he said Belarus could accept an offer from the city of Munich to fly the refugees directly to Germany with the state airline Belavia if Poland did not provide a “humanitarian corridor”. Organizing a “refugee movement” through Belarus would be more expensive for his country. He referred to an offer from the city of Munich to take in refugees from the Polish-Belarusian border area.

Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said in Brussels that he had “no reason” to believe Lukashenko’s words about the return of refugees to their home countries. “Let’s just hope he’s telling some truth this time.” According to information from aid organizations, ten migrants have already died. They warned of a humanitarian crisis in the face of freezing temperatures.

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