In a small apartment in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, NRK meets three young men from a country in the Middle East. They won’t say what their names are and won’t show their faces.
They do not leave the apartment because their visas are no longer valid.
The three have been on the border with Poland for a week and a half. But a few days ago, they gave up trying to reach the European Union.
They said the families at home collected nearly 4,000 US dollars each so they could prove they were in Germany or another EU country.
They say they received hints that it would be possible to cross the border from Belarus into Poland.
What met them was a severe cold, a shortage of water and food, and a wall from the Polish border guards. Using tear gas and barbed wire, the guards worked to secure an almost airtight border.
After 10 days, they realized that crossing the border was almost impossible. But returning to Minsk has also been a challenge, according to the men.
They tested that the Belarusian border guards would not allow people to return. In the end, they were lucky and got the help of someone from the Belarusian side to negotiate again.
Now they are very disappointed in an apartment in Minsk. The dream of a better life in the European Union has been shattered.
The three will not criticize the Belarusian authorities for what happened. They say it was their decision to travel, and they took the opportunity when they came through Belarus.
The men now hope to get on a plane back home.
Drivers bring people back
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said earlier this week that he would be able to take migrants to Germany with state-owned airline Belavia, if Poland did not open a humanitarian corridor.
Migrants who are now surrendering to return home tell NRK that they will not make a new attempt to reach a European country.
They are far from the only ones turning around now. Many immigrants spoke to NRK to say the same. And the drivers who transported people to the border are now transporting people to the capital.
Do not give up
In Bruges, one kilometer from the border area, the tone is different. Here, President Lukashenko ordered to turn the warehouse into a camp for migrants. About a thousand migrants have now spent the night in the temporary housing.
People here are telling NRK that they haven’t given up. They will keep trying to cross the border.
– I want to stay here, I want to go to Europe, but Europe does not want us, says one of the immigrants whom we met in the warehouse.
He understands that he is not crossing the border now, but he does not lose hope and claims that new immigrants are constantly coming to the border area.
More than 2,000 who arrived at the warehouse yesterday also returned to tent camps near the border. Thus continues the crisis, which the West says was created by Belarus to divide the European Union and fight sanctions. Minsk denied the allegations.
I hope it won’t take years
– We must prepare for the fact that the situation on the Polish-Belarus border will not be resolved quickly. We have to prepare for months. I hope it won’t take years,” Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak told Polish radio Giddinka on Wednesday.
Tuesday Polish border guards fired tear gas It deployed water cannons against stone-throwing migrants trying to cross the eastern border of the European Union. The Polish Ministry of Defense also alleged that Belarus supplied stun grenades and tear gas to the migrants.
Nine police officers, a border guard and a soldier were injured in Tuesday’s clashes, according to Polish authorities. They were all released from hospital on Wednesday.
According to unconfirmed figures, at least ten migrants have died at the border since the end of the summer.
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