According to the authorities in Belarus, several hundred migrants set out on foot to the border with the neighboring EU country Poland. From the point of view of the Polish government, the migrants could try to break through the border near the town of Kuźnica Białostocka and continue to Germany via Poland. Poland announced that it would strengthen protection at the EU’s external border.
“According to the latest information, this huge group of migrants is under the control of armed Belarusian forces who decide where to go and where not,” wrote intelligence coordinator Stanisław Żaryn on Twitter. He spoke of another hostile action by the neighboring country against Poland. The Polish government therefore convened a crisis team.
Poland’s government spokesman Piotr Müller told the PAP news agency that on Monday the most difficult situation since Lukashenko’s actions against Poland could arise on the border with Belarus. More border guards will be sent to the appropriate section. In addition, they are in constant contact with the EU border protection agency Frontex. The Department of Defense released aerial photographs showing a large crowd near the border.
Lithuania also wants to send soldiers to the border with Belarus
Lithuania is also sending military to its border with Belarus to prepare for a possible influx of migrants. This was announced by the Lithuanian Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė at a press conference on Monday. According to her, the cabinet will discuss whether a state of emergency will be declared in the border area. The authorities did not want to specify how many soldiers were to be sent to the region and where exactly they were to be posted and cited security reasons for this.
According to a report by the state news agency Belta on Monday, the Belarus border guards said they had taken “all necessary measures” to ensure security.
The Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko sees himself being criticized for having people flown in from various crisis regions in order to smuggle them into the EU. In response to sanctions against his country, he had declared that he would no longer stop people on their way to a better life in the “cozy West”. There have already been several migrant deaths in the border region. The EU states Poland and Lithuania have reported thousands of border crossings in the past few months.
Seehofer is of the opinion that irregular migration “will remain a big issue”
Germany is considered a main destination for migrants. According to information from the Federal Ministry of the Interior, an average of around 170 migrants came to Germany every day via Poland. There was no further increase, said ministry spokesman Steve Alter. The number of asylum applications has not increased either. In October – without taking into account the children of people seeking protection who were born in Germany – 11,586 people applied for asylum for the first time, 4.6 percent fewer than in the previous month.
The acting Federal Minister of the Interior, Horst Seehofer (CSU), is still of the opinion that irregular migration “will remain a major issue”. The CDU / CSU parliamentary group wants to introduce a proposal to the Bundestag on Thursday on the situation on the German-Polish border. Seehofer has proposed to Poland that the joint strips should be intensified. Stationary border controls by the federal police are not yet planned.
The EU has not recognized Lukashenko as head of state of Belarus (formerly Belarus) since the controversial presidential election last year. The “last dictator in Europe”, as critics call him, is supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin on Monday welcomed the authorities’ actions in relation to the migrants. Lukashenko acts with great severity against any opposition.