The influx of migrants at the border between Poland and Belarus raises concerns in Germany
A recent increase in the number of migrants from Africa and the Middle East trying to enter Poland has raised concerns in neighboring Germany, leading some to call for a reintroduction of checks along the common border of the country.
Parts of Germany have called for the reintroduction of checks along the country’s border with Poland due to a growing number of migrants trying to enter the country.
Concerns have been raised in Brandenburg and Saxony after Polish border guards observed more irregular border crossing attempts along its border with Belarus.
But a spokesman for the Polish border guards stressed that migrants entering the EU do not only pass through Poland but also through the Baltic countries.
“The migrants mentioned by the German side passed through Belarus or Russia and still recently issued Russian visas,” said Anna Michalska, spokeswoman for the Polish border guards.
“We also have information from the Latvian side, from the Lithuanian side, that many people who crossed the border illegally from Belarus were in open centers for foreigners. This year we arrested twice as many [migrants] on the Polish-Lithuanian border than a year ago.”
Volunteers help vulnerable migrants at the Polish-Belarusian border
With the increase in migrants along the Polish-Belarusian border, aid groups are also nearby. Michal Wolny is one of the volunteers helping people on the ground.
“Currently, especially after the winter, there is an intensification of this movement on the Polish-Belarusian border. In the spring, there are simply a lot more interventions,” says Wolny.
Migrants along the border, most of whom are from Bangladesh, India, Eritrea and Ethiopia, are often forcibly welcomed.
“OUR [volunteer] group has had four such surgeries in the past 24 hours. You can also see the increased brutality by border guards from both countries, leading to more injuries among the refugees.”
Risks faced by migrants attempting to cross borders
Some migrants are forced to try to scale Poland’s border wall or cross dangerous rivers and swamps to enter the country.
A Cameroonian told Euronews that her initial goal was to reach France.
“From my country we took a plane to Russia because [to get] a direct visa for France, it’s not really easy to enter our country, so we take all possible paths to get there, and with all possible risks.”
After crossing the border on foot, many stay in Polish forests in harsh conditions for days.
“I left my country because there is war and there is no stability. We are looking for a better life,” says a Cameroonian migrant.
Despite the wall Poland has built along the border, the migrant route through Russia and Belarus is still operational, and it doesn’t look like this situation will end soon.