Protests after the rigged presidential elections, forcing a Ryanair plane to land, economic sanctions against Minsk – that was just the beginning. These are the events that preceded the migration crisis on the eastern border of the European Union.
Poland and other EU Member States accuse the President of Belarus, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, of organizing a migration crisis. They claim it is retaliation for sanctions against Minsk for violating human rights.
Key events that preceded the migration crisis
In recent days, the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border has worsened significantly with the arrival of a large group of migrants near the border crossing in Kuźnica. The situation was preceded by other important events:
August 2020 – they break out in Belarus protests after Alyaksandr Lukashenka declared himself the winner of the presidential election which, according to foreign observers, was neither free nor fair.
May 23, 2021 – Belarusian authorities forced a Ryanair plane to land at the airport in Minsk. One of the passengers was the opposition activist and blogger Raman Pratasiewicz. Belarus was then heavily criticized by the European Union and the United States.
May 26, 2021 – Lukashenka informs that his country will no longer prevent migrants from crossing the border with the European Union.
June 24, 2021 – The European Union is imposing on Belarus for the first time wide-ranging economic sanctions. It is a response to human rights violations and brutal repression against civil society, the country’s democratic opposition and journalists, as well as to the forced landing of a plane in Minsk.
July 9, 2021 – Lithuania is starting the construction of a 550-kilometer-long barbed wire fence on the border with Belarus. Earlier, she accused Minsk of bringing migrants to allow them to illegally enter the territory of the European Union.
July 19, 2021 – Frontex announces the sending of 60 officers, helicopters and vehicles to the Lithuanian-Belarusian border in connection with the sharp increase in the number of illegal border crossings.
August 9, 2021 – Latvia declares a state of emergency along its border.
August 10, 2021 – Lithuania decides to erect a high metal fence to stop illegal border crossing.
August 23, 2021 – Poland has announced the construction of a high fence along the border with Belarus.
September 2, 2021 – Poland declares a state of emergency in bordering on Belarus.
September 8, 2021 – Belarus warns that it may freeze an agreement with the European Union on the return of migrants who entered the EU from its territory, citing “hostile actions” by Brussels.
September 19, 2021 – The bodies of three people were found in the border region with Belarus.
October 1, 2021 – Poland extends the state of emergency for another 60 days.
October 8, 2021 – Poland accuses the Belarusian services of firing shots, probably with blank bullets, at its troops and calls on the chargé d’affaires of the embassy of the Republic of Belarus in Poland.
October 14, 2021 – Poland enacts legislation allowing migrants to be pushed back to the border.
November 3, 2021 – Polish authorities claim that unidentified uniformed and armed persons entered Poland from Belarus.
November 8, 2021 – The Polish authorities accuse Belarus of preparing a provocation and directing hundreds of migrants towards the Polish border.
November 9, 2021 – The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, suggests that the European Union should consider offering Belarus financial assistance, following the example of the agreement adopted with the Turkish authorities. This would help keep migrants from crossing the border.
Main photo source: Police