Number of Migrants Coming to Germany via the "Belarusian Route" is Increasing
German authorities say the number of migrants coming to their country via Poland and Belarus has increased in recent months, the Associated Press reported.
According to federal police, more than 4,300 people have crossed the border with Poland illegally since the beginning of the year. Most of the migrants are from Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Iran, the DPA said.
For the period from January to July, only 26 people who came on the "Belarusian route" were reported; for August they were 474, for September 1914, and for the first 11 days of October they were 1934, the federal police said.
Most people are accommodated in reception centers in the eastern state of Brandenburg. Tents have been added to the usual accommodation, which can accommodate a total of 3,500 people, to increase the capacity to 5,000.
"The situation is not dramatic, but it is difficult," said Olaf Jansen, head of the Central Office for Foreigners in the eastern German city of Eisenhüttenstadt. He added that there were also fears that the coronavirus could spread among newcomers.
European leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel have accused the Belarusian regime of supporting increased migration to the EU as a form of "hybrid war" aimed at destabilizing the 27-nation bloc.
Thousands of migrants were attracted by the opportunity to come to Belarus on tourist visas and then transfer to Poland, Lithuania and, to a lesser extent, Latvia - all three EU members bordering Belarus.
Several of their migrants recently died of exhaustion while trying to cross from Belarus to Poland through a forest and swamp area.
In 2015 and 2016, more than a million people fleeing the wars in the Middle East embarked on a dangerous journey across the Mediterranean and the Aegean in search of safety in Western Europe and in Germany in particular. But upon their arrival, the EU erected concrete and barbed wire walls, set up drone surveillance and struck agreements with Libya and Turkey to keep migrants away from their borders, the Associated Press reported.
The much less guarded road to the EU through the forests and swamps of Eastern Europe emerged as a migration route only after the European Union imposed sanctions on the regime of authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko after opposition-contested elections and harsh repression against protesters.
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