German Minister Holds Russia Responsible for Belarus Migrant Surge

Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko (L) welcomes his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin prior to the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) summit in Minsk on November 30, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SPUTNIK / Mikhail METZEL (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL METZEL/AFP via Getty Images)

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has stated that Moscow is ultimately responsible for Belarus sending thousands of migrants to the EU, with over 3,000 arriving in Germany since the start of the month.

Mr Seehofer said of the ongoing migrant crisis on the Belarus-Poland border that Belarus was engaging in “hybrid warfare”, a term previously used by London-based think tank Chatham House in August.

The German minister went on to accuse Russia of being responsible for the surge of migrants, which started over the summer, saying the key to the crisis was not in Minsk but in Moscow, a reference to the influence of Russian President Vladimir Putin over puppet Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Bild reports.

Seehofer also criticised Greece, stating that at least 32,000 migrants who have applied for asylum in Germany this year had already done so in Greece, and noted that Athens had only taken back one migrant.

If the situation remains the same, Seehofer stated, then Germany would consider the unusual step of implementing border controls on flights from Greece, a fellow EU member-state and Schengen area country.

The statement came just days after Seehofer expressed an interest in implementing border controls along the Polish border but later offered to hold joint border patrols with the country.

Since the start of October, at least 3,104 migrants have crossed from Poland into Germany illegally after initially entering the European Union from Belarus, an average of 160 illegal border crossings every day.

Chairman of the Federal Police Union Heiko Teggatz, who had suggested to Seehofer that border controls should be implemented to deal with the crisis, said on Monday: “For several months, the number of apprehensions has been rising almost explosively.”

Poland, meanwhile, has nearly doubled the number of troops along the border with Belarus this week, with Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak saying that around 6,000 soldiers would be patrolling the border area.

“The soldiers provide support to the Border Guard by protecting the country’s border and not allowing it to be illegally crossed,” he said.

Last week, the Polish parliament passed a law that would allow border guards to push migrants back into Belarus if they cross into Poland illegally and allow them to ignore asylum applications from illegals.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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