A group of refugees has crossed the border into Poland. Bundestag President Barbel Bas calls for help to the people on the Polish-Belarusian border.
According to the Polish police, a group of around 50 migrants broke the barrier on the border with Belarus and got to Poland. As a police spokesman said, the incident occurred on Saturday evening near the village of Dubicze Cerkiewne. The officers arrested 22 Iraqis. According to the police, another larger group tried to cross the border not far from the village of Klukowicze-Kolonia - but to no avail. The refugees threw stones at the officers, and one officer was slightly injured.
The police also arrested four suspected smugglers who were traveling with refugees in the border region. According to the information, these are two Georgians, a Polish and a Syrian. The information cannot be independently verified, however, as Poland has declared a state of emergency in the border region. Journalists and helpers are not allowed in. This also applies to the border area on the Belarusian side.
For several days, thousands of refugees have been waiting in makeshift camps in the forest on the Polish-Belarusian border at temperatures around freezing . The Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko is accused of having organized refugees from crisis regions like Syria or Iraq to fly to Belarus in order to then have them brought to the border with the EU. Lukashenko wants to get the EU to take back the sanctions against his regime .
Bas: "Europe must quickly agree how these people can be helped"
Bundestag President Bärbel Bas (SPD) calls for rapid help for the refugees on the Polish-Belarusian border. "People are being brought to the border with the EU with a false promise. They are being abused," Bas told the newspapers of the Funke media group. "Europe must quickly agree on how these people can be helped." According to Bas, people and their fate should not be allowed to be used as a means of pressure, as Europe is particularly hard hit with its humanitarian values. "We Germans are firmly on the side of the affected EU states, especially Poland," said the Speaker of the Parliament.
However, Bas also spoke out in favor of building fortified border fortifications. "Fences and walls at the borders should be dismantled wherever possible. That also corresponds to my thoughts on Europe," she said. "Unfortunately, given Lukashenko's policies, this is unthinkable." As a result of the current situation, Poland has fortified its border with Belarus with barbed wire. According to Bas, the situation shows that the issue of migration has still not been resolved in the EU. The EU member states have not yet agreed on a reform of the common asylum system that has been planned for years.
Kretschmer: Society has to endure images of needy people at the border
Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) spoke out against granting asylum to people on the Polish-Belarusian border. "We are not allowed to accept these migrants in the EU or in Germany," Kretschmer told Bild am Sonntag. "We have clear rules on immigration. Recognized refugees or skilled workers can come. Neither is the case with the migrants who were lured by Lukashenko. We have to show the dictator in Minsk that this measure will not be successful. Then he will stop smuggling, "said Saxony's Prime Minister. According to him, society has to endure pictures of people in need at the border and help Poland secure its external EU border. "Warsaw is doing the right thing, so we mustn't stab Poland in the back," said Kretschmer.
Green leader Annalena Baerbock, on the other hand, criticizes the emergency in the Polish-Belarusian border area: The emergency humanitarian aid is now the most urgent, Baerbock told Bild am Sonntag. "Therefore, aid organizations must be allowed into the closed border area immediately. I appeal to the Polish government to make this possible and to accept the EU's offers of support - also with regard to joint border protection."
Federal police are said to have arrested 329 smugglers so far
Many of the refugees at the border try to come to Germany, and smugglers also help. Bild am Sonntag reports that the federal police have arrested 329 people in recent weeks who are said to have brought migrants from the Polish-Belarusian border area to Germany. Among the arrested were 14 German citizens and several Syrians and Iraqis with right of residence in Germany. The other suspects are from Ukraine, Georgia and the Baltic States. Most of them are in custody.
As the newspaper reported with reference to information from security circles, the alleged smugglers are in contact with backers in Belarus. According to the investigators' findings, the smugglers apply via closed forums on the Internet, rent a van and then receive geodata from Minsk via messenger services on their mobile phones about the areas in which they should take in the migrants. They receive between 1,000 and 5,000 euros per trip. So far, a total of 9,500 migrants have been registered in Germany who came into the country via the so-called Belarus route.