According to information from the Süddeutsche Zeitung, WDR and NDR, Russia and Belarus are once again working increasingly to smuggle migrants from poor and crisis-stricken regions via their countries towards the European Union – including towards Germany.

According to statistics from the Federal Police, migration via this route had declined so sharply in January and February 2024, with fewer than 30 detections in each case, that it was hardly detectable anymore. But now the numbers are rising significantly again. There were already 412 detections in March, 670 in April and 416 in May by the middle of the month. The Polish border guard has also registered an increase in the number of people entering from Belarus in the past few weeks. In security circles, people are once again talking about “hybrid warfare”.

The number of refugees via various escape routes generally increases at the beginning of summer. However, security authorities see a system behind this development, because without the intervention of the respective governments, an increase in the route via Moscow and Minsk is hardly possible. According to the research, half of the migrants for whom there is information about their travel route have Russian visas that were issued in their home countries. According to the information, Russia is said to be willing to issue entry visas in some countries in order to specifically attract migrants. These often fly to Moscow or St. Petersburg, from where they travel on to Belarus – from there they then tried to get into the EU, according to security circles.

The Federal Ministry of the Interior is cautious, but also suspects an increasing trend on the escape route via Russia and Belarus. After Nancy Faeser’s (SPD) ministry registered even fewer unauthorized entries at the border with Poland at the beginning of the year than in the previous year, the tide turned in March. In total, the authorities suddenly counted 1,650 cases this month, more than last year (1,580 cases). According to police findings, the recorded increase could be mainly due to “the seasonal increase in detections related to Belarus,” said a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior.