Belarusian border crisis migrants arrested on their way to Arctic route to Europe

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The three migrants crossed the border from Belarus to Smolensk Oblast in Russia on December 3. document checks are carried out.

For the three Iranian nationals, the illegal entry into Russia was not discovered by the police before their arrival in the northern city of Kandalaksha, in the Murmansk region.

During the 2015-2016 migration crisis, Kandalaksha became a transit point for many people heading for the so-called arctic route to Europe, first to Russia’s border with Norway, then to the border with northern Finland.

In Kandalaskha, the three Iranians were arrested by the FSB border guard service and charged with violating Russia’s Criminal Code for entering the country illegally without any valid documents, informs the Kandalaksha District Court in a Press release.

The court decided to keep the three people in detention for a period of two months.

This fall, thousands of migrants tried to cross the border between Belarus and Poland. The European Union accused the dictator Alexander Lukashenko of orchestrating the crisis in retaliation for the rise in sanctions against his country.

Belarusian travel agencies have organized charter trips from several Middle Eastern countries with flights to Minsk, from where authorities transported people to the border with Poland and Lithuania.

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There have been several cases of migrants who came to Belarus on their way to Europe subsequently entered Russia illegally after being pushed back from border barriers with Poland. Two groups of migrants from Syria and Egypt were arrested in Smolensk Oblast in August, Komosomolskaya Pravda reported.

The migrants were helped across the border between Belarus and Russia by Russian citizens, according to Sever.Realii news online.

With a start on December 15, the Belarusian railway now operates a weekly train from Minsk to Murmansk.

In the fall of 2015, more than 5,500 asylum seekers, refugees and migrants entered Norway at the Storskog checkpoint after taking the so-called Arctic Migrant Route via the Kola Peninsula in Russia. A complete halt to the flow to Norway came on November 30, forcing migrants to change direction towards the northern border to Finland at Raja-Josseppi and Salla. A few months later, FSB border guards decided to prevent migrants from reaching Russia’s northern borders to Schengen-Europe.

Migrants arriving at the Storskog checkpoint in October 2015. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

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