Belarus has announced it has restored some controls at its border with Russia, partially reversing its decision to remove them in 1995. Belarusian Foreign Minister, Sergei Aleinik, stated that the introduction of the border controls was intended to prevent third-country nationals from entering Belarus ahead of the mutual recognition of visas agreement. This is the first time in 28 years that border checks will be in place along the countries’ 1,239-kilometer border. Human rights advocates claim the checks will be conducted on adult males in Russia who are trying to avoid military service.
According to Aleinik, all people crossing the Belarusian-Russian border will be checked by Belarusian border guards in close cooperation with their Russian counterparts. But the checks will not be much of a control; rather, they will enable the monitoring of the border situation. In 1995, Russia and Belarus did away with their boundaries. Russia sends troops and missiles through economically vulnerable Belarus to invade Ukraine.
Belarusian border service began carrying out checks from May 5, but it only became public knowledge on Wednesday. Minister for Digital Development, Maksut Shadayev, also announced today that Russia would establish a unified database of eligible military service persons, accompanied by the introduction of electronic summonses in time for the autumn draft.
With this new development, those receiving electronic summons issued by the Russian Army will be placed on a travel ban until they appear at the recruitment bureau. Thousands of Russians have fled to Belarus since the Ukraine war broke out in February 2022. Alexei Moskalyov escaped to Belarus in March after receiving a two-year sentence in Russia. Currently being held for extradition to Russia.
Increased border checks, according to human rights groups, are designed to stop Russians from fleeing to avoid mobilization and conflict with Ukraine. President Alexander Lukashenko’s response to any threat, including sabotage, is increased border monitoring, according to Pavel Sapelko of the Belarusian human rights NGO Viasna. Russia can keep an eye on individuals who refuse to get mobilized for the confrontation with Ukraine in this way.