BERLIN (AP) — German police said on Monday that they registered more than 5,000 unauthorized border crossings last month by people who had arrived from Belarus, marking a significant uptick in the number of arrivals through a new and politically sensitive migration route.
Federal police said in a statement that October saw 5,285 unauthorized entries “with a connection to Belarus.” That contrasts sharply with the 1,903 arrivals recorded in September, bringing the total so far this year to 7,832.
Police said last weekend alone, 597 people who entered illegally from Belarus were found on the German side of the border with Poland. Of those, 391 were Iraqi citizens while the remainder were from Syria, Iran and Afghanistan. Most had Belarusian visas or entry stamps in their passports.
Fellow European Union members Poland and Lithuania have been struggling to cope with an unusually high number of migrants arriving at their borders with Belarus in recent months. The EU is accusing Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s government of using them to destabilize the 27-nation bloc in retaliation for EU sanctions.
The influx has been causing concern in Germany, a favored destination for migrants reaching the EU.
Germany’s outgoing interior minister recently proposed introducing joint German-Polish patrols on the two countries’ border to help clamp down on illegal crossings by migrants arriving from Belarus, but said no one has any intention of closing the frontier.
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