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10 February 2023, 14:08

Poland closes Bobrowniki checkpoint on border with Belarus

oland closes Bobrowniki checkpoint on border with Belarus

BERESTOVITSA DISTRICT, 10 February (BelTA) – Poland closed the Bobrowniki border checkpoint for an indefinite time, BelTA has learned.

"Up till now the Berestovitsa checkpoint [Bobrowniki on the Polish side] was the only functioning checkpoint on the Belarusian-Polish section of the state border in Grodno Oblast. It was also one of the busiest on the Belarusian-Polish section of the state border, because in November 2021, the Republic of Poland also unilaterally closed the Kuznica checkpoint and all traffic flows, passengers were redirected to this checkpoint," said Andrei Shoka, head of the border control department of the Grodno border group.

Андрей Шока
Андрей Шока

“Citizens who wish to visit the Republic of Poland can use the only remaining international checkpoint Brest and cargo carriers – the only remaining international checkpoint Kozlovichi,” he added.

According to Andrei Shoka, the last day was, by and large, no different from the previous ones. The queues were long in the last weeks and months both in terms of passenger traffic and cargo trucks. “Some people tried to attempt to cross the state border before the Bobrowniki checkpoint was unilaterally closed by the Republic of Poland. This inflow affected our activity a little, but we were ready for that: we had enough forces and means to do our job,” he said.

Andrei Shoka added: “The state border cannot remain unguarded. We will continue to keep the state border protected. We will also take measures to bolster other areas. We will redirect our workers to other checkpoints.”

“If we talk about the capacity of the Berestovitsa checkpoint, it is 900 cars and 500 trucks in one direction. The neighboring state has cleared only 40-45% of the normal crossing capacity recently,” Andrei Shoka said.

Polish citizens could use this checkpoint to visit Belarus under the visa waiver program. The Belarusian visa waiver program for Polish citizens was launched on 1 July 2022 and was prolonged by the presidential decision till the end of 2023. After the closure of the Kuznica border crossing point, residents of the neighboring country used the Bobrowniki-Berestovitsa crossing to visit Belarus. Since 1 July 2022, some 5,000 Poles have entered Belarus visa free through Berestovitsa, and the same number of Polish nationals have crossed the border back.

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