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18 October 2022, 20:00

Concern over tensions at Belarusian-Ukrainian border

BREST, 18 October (BelTA) – The Belarusian border service has registered over 2,000 attempts to push refugees from Poland and Baltic states to Belarus so far this year. Chairman of the State Border Committee of Belarus Anatoly Lappo made the statement during an awareness-raising meeting with workers of the unitary enterprise Gefest-Technika in Brest, BelTA has learned. The meeting was held to raise the awareness of those present about the evolving military political situation in the country and abroad.

According to Anatoly Lappo, attempts to push migrants to Belarus happen at western borders every day. About 1,200 attempts have happened at the Belarusian-Polish border alone since 1 January. The situation at the Latvian border and the Lithuanian one is similar, with about 1,000 attempts made so far.

The situation at Belarusian border crossings remains complicated. The Belarusian side has closed no crossings upon its own initiative but one cannot say the same about other countries. Border service personnel of neighboring countries also fail to honor the agreements concerning the number of vehicles they are supposed to clear per day. For instance, the border crossing Grigorovshchina at the Latvian border is supposed to clear 200 vehicles per day. However, it cleared only 90 yesterday, leaving 245 vehicles in today's queue. The border checkpoint Kamenny Log at the Lithuanian border is supposed to clear 500 vehicles per day but only 137 were cleared and 610 are left in the queue. The border crossing Kozlovichi is supposed to clear 1,200 vehicles per day but only 464 vehicles were cleared and 180 trucks are still queuing to cross the border. The Polish side cleared only 480 vehicles at the automobile border checkpoint Brest despite the agreement to clear 1,700 vehicles daily.

Anatoly Lappo said: “We've contacted them. It is being done in order to cause displeasure among people on our territory.”

The number of personnel stationed at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border has been increased. “Not only border service personnel but territorial defense forces, other units are guarding the border on the other side. We don't even understand who they are because they lack identification signs. Naturally there is tension, there is danger. The more people, who are not specialists, are at the border, the greater the possibility for a conflict is,” the head of the Belarusian border service noted.

Anatoly Lappo also reminded that Ukrainians, who live near the Belarusian border, used to cross the border every day in order to pick up mushrooms and berries. “We've also allowed them to do that this year. We've stationed dedicated patrols. But armed people showed up in their villages and let no people pick up blackberries or cranberries. Although honestly speaking, when I look at these people, I feel pity. When a five-year-old kid or a woman 82 years of age goes to pick up berries… It is the only means of living for them,” the official said.

The official concluded that the Belarusian border service will do its best to protect the border despite anything.

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