15 February 2019
The UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the European Union will help Belarus and Ukraine make their joint border more secure with a new project aimed to support state border demarcation process, improving the border crossing points infrastructure and strengthen bilateral cooperation and coordination between the two countries in line with the principles of Integrated Border Management.
The demarcation of the 1,084 km border between Belarus and Ukraine has been pending for over 20 years. Minsk and Kyiv signed the State Border Treaty back in 1997. Until now, 784 km has been marked with temporary border signs, while about one-third of the boundary still lacks any signs and is to be prepared for demarcation with the EU’s and IOM’s support. The frontier runs across marshy and wooden terrain. A total of 120 km as officially defined by Belarus and 154 km as defined by Ukraine is a length of state border that is crossing the radioactively contaminated area adjacent to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
The Delegation of the European Union to Belarus, assisted by IOM experts, will procure a wide range of assets needed for demarcation works at the Belarus-Ukraine border to be carried out including vehicles, radiation detection and construction equipment, border signs and buoys, other relevant tools and machinery.
“Border demarcation might seem to be a purely technical process, implementing the agreements that were already reached at the political and legislative level; however, the absence of a clearly demarcated border contributes to the vulnerability of the Belarus-Ukraine border, and, in a way, the eastern border of the EU at large,” said Outa Hermalahti, Project Manager at the EU Delegation to Belarus. “It creates the preconditions for transborder crime, such as drugs, weapons, and migrant smuggling.”
In addition to the border demarcation support, a new X-ray station will be installed at “Novaya Huta” border crossing point to mitigate the risks of illegal cross border movements. “Novaya Huta”, Belarus, and “Novi Yarylovychi”, Ukraine, are the busiest adjacent border crossing points in the region, and a part of the Helsinki–Alexandroupolis Pan-European Transport Corridor. The information obtained by the Belarusian customs authorities via the new X-ray complex will be shared with their Ukrainian colleagues using the existing electronic system of pre-arrival information exchange (PRINEX), launched in the framework of one of the previous EU-funded projects implemented by IOM.
The EU and IOM will also facilitate the development of a specialised mobile application supporting the crossing of state border, allowing travellers to follow the situation at the border, as well as to obtain relevant information on border-crossing procedures.