Tents on the border with Poland. What has changed in Belarusian in the border area | Belarus: a view from Europe – special project DW | DW
The Kamenets district, located in the vicinity of the famous Belovezhskaya Pushcha, does not belong to the territory on the Belarusian-Polish border. You can legally get to the neighboring country from here only through the Peschatka road checkpoint: now it is mostly empty due to coronavirus restrictions imposed on the exit of Belarusian citizens. However, for the second month now, residents of border villages have been glancing anxiously towards the western borders.
The restricted area has become available
50-year-old driver Mikhail (not his real name) lives in the village of Oberovshchina and works at a local agricultural enterprise. From his home to the five borders with Poland – a little more than kilometers, but this fact the man never attached much importance to.
Warning sign in the border strip between Poland and Belarus
“The border is near, but you can’t legally cross it there: for this you have to go to Peschatka, up to eight kilometers,” says Mikhail and notes that his fellow villagers value these places for another reason. Visitors’ access was limited due to the presence of the border strip.
Recently, nothing in the Belarusian legislation regarding visits to the border strip by citizens of Belarus and foreigners has changed. Back to the placement system for the respective purposes. Violators of these rules face a fine and even deportation.
“Here everyone has the phone number of the nearest border post: if someone noticed a stranger, they called immediately,” says Mikhail. However, this autumn, dozens of people from Iraq and other countries have come to the border area.
Where are the tents on the border from?
According to Mikhail, in the Oberovshchina itself, migrants have not yet been noticed, but they are already looking into the neighboring villages of the Kamenets district. “I know that the head of the district police came to the village council: they asked him questions, because people are worried about their safety,” the villager says.
Barbed wire on the border of Poland and Belarus
Although the local state press is extremely sparingly covering the situation at the border, there really was a small note about the visit of the head of the Kamenets ROVD Viktor Vodchits in the regional newspaper. According to the local head of police, the actions of migrants in the area are closely monitored.
“They break up, they can be returned to Europe,” said Viktor Vodchits. At the same time, it remained unclear from the publication: who allowed the migrants to put up tents at the border and how you can legally get to Poland outside the checkpoint.
Will migrants fly through other airports?
Former Brest border guard Sergei told DW that he continues to communicate with his former colleagues and sympathizes with their current situation. “Today Belarusian border guards are simply executors of someone’s provocative plans. At first, the weak link was considered the Lithuanian border, in the direction of which they tried to send migrants. Now the situation is aggravating on the outskirts of Poland, ”says Sergei.
Polish border guards
At the same time, in large cities on the border with this country – Grodno and Brest – involved illegal immigrants are not particularly noticeable. After arriving in Minsk and a short stay in the Belarusian capital, migrants are taken directly to the border area.
The situation could change. At the end of October, a program of charter flights to resorts in Tunisia and Egypt was completed here, and new destinations were not announced.
Searching for those responsible for the crisis at the border
The aggravation of the situation on the Polish sector is associated with the fact that in early October several heads of the Belarusian security agencies visited Brestskaya at once. The purpose of their visit was announced as a solution to the problematic criminal border.
So, State Secretary of the Security Council Alexander Volfovich.
According to him, the Belarusian border traffic has repeatedly drawn the attention of European partners. However, these proposals, as noted by Volfovich, were ignored.
“In fact, the migration problem has become a reason for the collective West to shift the consequences of its short-sighted actions to the Belarusian side,” the Secretary of State of the Security Council said.
The interlocutor of DW from among the former border guards believes that in the context of the current events, trust between the border departments of Belarus and neighboring countries has been seriously undermined. “It’s not even about the appearance of barbed wire: there were many other joint projects aimed, for example, at simplifying the border crossing procedure for residents of neighboring territories.