Migrants in the Belarusian border area: “We were trapped in the middle”

Status: 11/30/2021 3:22 a.m.

The situation in the Belarusian border area remains desperate. More and more migrants tell how they are trapped between the fronts. And an improvement in the situation is not in sight.

By Martha Wilczynski, ARD Studio Moscow

Another person died in the western border area of ​​Belarus. According to the Belarusian border guards, the man was found dead on Monday night near the border with Lithuania. Pushed over to the Belarusian side, claims ruler Alexander Lukashenko at a meeting with representatives of the Belarusian Defense Ministry.

In this migrant crisis, these bastards go so far as to kill people. It’s always the same method: you put a dead or half-dead person in a sleeping bag and put them down at our border.

Martha Wilczynski
ARD studio Moscow

The investigators would clarify what is behind this, assures Lukashenko. But there are hardly any opportunities to independently examine what is going on in the forests between Belarus and the EU.

Forced attack

Again and again migrants say that they were urged by Belarusian border guards to cross the border to Poland or Lithuania. The attack by hundreds of migrants on the Brusgi-Kuznica border crossing almost two weeks ago was also forced, says this 18-year-old Iraqi:

You said we can’t go back to Belarus, but we can’t go to Poland either. So we were trapped – in the middle. It was cold and we had to do something. The people froze. So the Belarusians said: if you attack now, our people will help you to go back.

Shortly after the escalation, in which stones flew and the Polish side used water cannons and tear gas, the around 2,000 migrants were taken to the temporary emergency accommodation – in a warehouse not far from the Belarusian-Polish border. Many are still there today – in the hope that they will somehow make it to Europe.

Improvement of the situation is not foreseeable

Many others have now given up hope – like Schiluan, a law student from Iraq. Like hundreds of others, he flew back home via Minsk over the weekend. If he had known what to expect at the border to Europe, he says, he would never have set off. And only after his return from Belarus does he dare to describe in a voice message what happened in the border area.

On the first night the Belarusian border guards picked us up and told us that they were taking us to Poland. They said there were no police, no controls. But they lied. The second night they took us to the Lithuanian border. The Lithuanians came with dogs and electric batons and forced us back to Belarus.

It is not foreseeable that the situation of migrants in Belarus, especially those in the border area, could soon change. Unless they choose the route back to their countries of origin.

During his visit to the emergency shelter last Friday, Alexander Lukashenko publicly announced that he would personally campaign for these people to be allowed through to Europe – and especially to Germany. But that’s not a real perspective. Especially since the ruler himself added that the situation on site will not improve in the near future.


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