The exodus of migrants from Belarus, hundreds of them cross the Polish border

It seems a real exodus that of migrants who are crossing the Polish border from Belarus to enter Europe, with images that recall more scenarios of civilians fleeing the war than the usual migratory flows. Today alone, hundreds of people, including many children, gathered in Minsk to reach the border with Poland, which is over 300 kilometers from the Belarusian capital. The goal is to force the blockade imposed by the border authorities and be able to apply for asylum in the EU. The images broadcast by the Polish broadcaster Tvn24 show columns of people with backpacks and sleeping bags pressing on the Belarusian side of the border, where while military and police officers are lined up and on which metal fences topped with barbed wire have been erected.

According to a humanitarian worker contacted by the Dire news agency, messages have been circulating among migrants for days inviting them to join the “caravan”. “These people are desperate, many of them have been frozen in the forest for days. They ask us for constant help to cross the border and obtain a visa, but our hands are tied, we can only provide them with legal assistance”, explains the woman. who asked to remain anonymous because, according to the new Polish laws on national security, those who assist migrants risk heavy fines and even imprisonment.

The operator reports that among her colleagues there is a strong suspicion that “the Belarusian authorities organized the ‘caravan of hope'”. The migrants, he continues, have shown us the messages they have received: they are appeals to gather in Minsk to leave as a group for the border “. The operators are amazed by the fact that this initiative” is well organized: they have been given addresses and times of the meeting and an itinerary to follow through the woods to reach Poland. But the migrants do not know Minsk or the territory so well that they can move with such security “.

Tvn24 reports that “armed men in uniform” would also lead the migrant caravan. The private broadcaster cites independent Belarusian media, but both for Tvn24 and for other Polish newspapers it is not possible to verify the news since last September the government imposed a state of emergency at the border: a security cordon on the Polish border three kilometers deep, making the area inaccessible to civilians, including journalists or humanitarian workers.

In a tweet the Polish Minister of Defense, Mariusz Blaszczak, announced the dispatch of 12,000 military personnel, while Stanislaw Zaryn, spokesman for the coordinating minister of Special Services, said: “The biggest attempt ever to enter Poland by force has begun” and that an emergency meeting will be held today to respond to the crisis.

“The Minsk regime behaves like a migrant smuggler, and Europe will take a stand together,” said the German government spokesman. Steffen Seibert, commenting on the images and news coming from Belarus. According to the EU, the unrest that has taken place during these months is caused by the choices of the leader Alexander Lukashenko, which is favoring irregular entries into the European territory as a form of retaliation against the sanctions imposed on the country and which has decided to no longer accept the repatriation of migrants who have entered the blockade illegally across its borders.

Adalbert Jahnz, spokesman for the European Commission for Migration, said during the press briefing in Brussels that it is essential that the situation at the border is managed “well” and with humanity by giving the necessary assistance to people in need. For Jahnz, this is yet another “desperate attempt by Aleksandr Lukashenko” to press on the EU. This hypothesis is also shared by the spokesman for Foreign Affairs Peter Stano, according to which what we are witnessing “is part of Lukashenko’s attempts to destabilize the EU. Meetings are underway at various levels. We continue our gradual approach to Belarus,” he adds. “We have sanctions in place against Belarus: the EU continues to be ready to respond to the unacceptable actions of the Belarusian regime”, concludes Stano.

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