Illegal immigrants to the EU are still using the route via Belarus
Western Europe remains an attractive destination for illegal economic migrants. The migration route from Belarus to the EU via Lithuania, Poland, and Latvia has become one of the routes for reaching Europe illegally. Migrants made more than 11,200 attempts to cross the Belarusian–Lithuanian border last year. Among the illegal immigrants who entered Lithuania, some were suspected of ties with terrorist organisations. For most migrants, Lithuania remains a transit country, and most of them highly likely present their asylum requests only as a pretext for entering the EU territory. Out of more than 4,000 registered migrants in the country, 141 person were granted international protection.
ROUTES OF ILLEGAL MIGRATION TO THE EU AND NUMBER OF ARRIVALS IN 2022
Some migrants arrive in Belarus from their countries of origin via Russia. Not only human traffickers and smugglers but also Belarusian border officers organise and facilitate illegal migration. They deliberately help migrants to cross the Belarusian–Lithuanian border – transport them, damage the physical barrier, and push the migrants into Lithuanian territory. In case of failure to enter Lithuanian territory, Belarusian border guards transport the migrants to the Latvian or Polish border and try to force them to cross it there.
In 2022, the Belarusian regime failed to repeat the previously orchestrated migration crisis at the EU borders on a similar scale as in 2021. However, it is highly likely that the regime is interested in maintaining constant political pressure on Europe. Due to the actions of the Minsk regime, the route via Belarus has become one of the illegal migration routes to the EU, and it will continue to be used by third-country nationals seeking to enter the EU illegally.
It is highly likely that the threat of illegal migration from Belarus will remain in the medium term. It is possible that among migrants using this route to enter Lithuania and other EU countries, there will be individuals associated with extremist organisations and posing a threat to national security or public order.