Dutch citizen arrested in Belarus after illegally crossing border on bicycle to ‘start a new life,’ now faces 5yr entry ban

A 48-year-old man from the Netherlands has been detained by guards near the Belarusian border after crossing it illegally from Lithuania. He claims his goal was to start a brand-new life in the politically troubled country.

According to Belarus’ State Border Committee, the Dutchman rode across the frontier by bicycle on April 25 and was detained in the country’s north-western Astravets district.
The alarm was initially raised by Lithuanian border guards, who informed their Belarusian counterparts that an unknown man had been spotted near their shared frontier.

He was caught hiding in the woods, 200m from the border.

The Dutchman told the authorities that he resorted to crossing the frontier because he wanted to start a new life in Belarus or Russia, but couldn’t get in legally.

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The man will be fined and deported, and he will be banned from visiting Belarus for the next five years.

Since 2017, Belarus has allowed all Dutch citizens, as well as those from other European Union member states and many other western countries, to visit the country visa-free for 30 days. However, borders are currently closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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On the same day, Belarus reported a second illegal border crossing. According to the authorities, a Polish man bypassed a checkpoint to enter the country to try and find work. The Pole explained that he wanted to move to Belarus after a fight with his father, and he was unaware the frontier was guarded.

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