Wednesday July 17, 2024

Germany sees steady rise in arrivals via 'Belarus route' this year

Published : 17 Jun 2024, 00:50

  DF News Desk
"Stop - state border" is written in three languages on the border with Belarus. File Photo: Alexander Welscher/dpa.

In the first five months of the year, German federal police registered 2,215 migrants arriving by irregular means using the so-called "Belarus route."

The people were caught at Germany's borders with Poland and the Czech Republic. Their numbers have steadily grown over the course of the year: While there were only 26 interceptions in January and 25 in February, the figure rose to 412 in March, 861 in April and 891 in May.

But this is still significantly lower than last year. By the end of May 2023, the police had logged around 6,000 unauthorized entries via the Belarus route.

Since 2021, the European Union has accused Belarus of deliberately facilitating the travel of migrants from crisis-wracked countries, mainly in the Middle East, by giving them visas and logistics help.

After luring the migrants to Belarus, they are then sent onwards towards EU countries like Poland. Brussels says this is an attempt to destabilize the 27-nation bloc in retaliation for EU sanctions on Belarus over the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters and the country's complicity in Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Many of the undocumented migrants on the route try to enter Germany, Europe's biggest economy, after transiting Poland and the Czech Republic.

In Germany they are put up in accommodations while their asylum applications are reviewed.

Poland has erected a 5.5-metre high fence at its border with Belarus, backed up by cameras and guards.

But more people are trying to cross the border irregularly: The Polish Border Guard has registered 16,500 such attempts since the beginning of the year. In the same period in 2023, there were 11,200.