Border Crisis Belarus - European Union

Article

January 23, 2022

The border crisis between Belarus and the European Union in 2021 concerns the Belarus-orchestrated influx of several tens of thousands of immigrants, mainly from Iraq and Africa, to Lithuania, Latvia and Poland via the borders with Belarus. serious deterioration in relations between Belarus and the European Union, following the fraudulent Belarusian presidential elections in 2020, the protests in Belarus in 2020 and 2021, the incident involving Ryanair flight 4978 and the associated EU sanctions against Belarus, in conjunction with the attempted forced repatriation of Krystsina Tsimanouskaya. In late May 2021, Belarusian President Lukashenko threatened that the EU would be "flooded with migrants and drugs" if the sanctions went through.

Events

From June 2021, more and more migrants from Belarus arrived at the border with Lithuania. The Lithuanian parliament subsequently decided in August to build a fence at the border. A state of emergency was declared in the border area of ​​Lithuania and Belarus. At about the same time, the Polish Border Guard stopped three times as many illegal migrants in a matter of days as in the entire previous year. A week later, the 27 EU member states collectively labeled the sending of the large groups of migrants to the EU's external borders as an act of aggression by the Belarusian government, which aimed to destabilize the EU. The Belarusian government made it easy for the migrants to obtain visas and also arranged additional air traffic. This made the route via Belarus to the EU more attractive to them than the more dangerous route via Turkey and Greece. On 15 November, EU foreign ministers held talks in Brussels about the Belarusian/Polish border crisis. New economic sanctions against Belarus were discussed. On 17 and 18 November, the migrant camps were largely evacuated. The majority of the approximately 2000 camp inmates were transferred to sheds. According to a spokesman for Lukashenko, a total of about 7000 migrants are still in Belarus. Several hundred Iraqis were returned to Iraq on the plane. At least 11 people had died as a result of the crisis, including a one-year-old child. Several hundred migrants who had managed to enter Poland were transferred back across the border. On December 12, at Czeremsza, another 55 migrants who had managed to enter Poland were returned to Belarus by the border guard.

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