Recently, the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Border Police has recorded an increasing influx of Russian citizens arriving at the Sarajevo Airport, most often by flights from Istanbul.
In the midst of Russian aggression against Ukraine, they use the benefits of the visa-free regime between the Russian Federation and BiH. Families, women, children, and men, fleeing mobilization and war, take flights from Moscow to Istanbul, and then often choose Sarajevo from Istanbul.
Upon arrival in Sarajevo, they mention tourism as the reason, but this is actually not true. They immediately look for transport and head towards the north of BiH, that is, the border crossings between BiH and Croatia.
”Recently, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of Russian citizens passing through the Sarajevo airport. Their origins are Chechens, Uzbeks, Dagestanis…,” said Svevlad Hoffmann, Police Advisor to the Director of the BiH Border Police.
They are actually abusing BiH hospitality in such a way that instead of going to reserved hotels in Sarajevo or other BiH cities, they immediately ask for taxi transport and go to the border of the Republic of Croatia, often to the region of Velika Kladusa or Border crossing Maljevac.
”Their goal is to enter the Republic of Croatia and seek asylum on the soil of the European Union (EU). They enter the Republic of Croatia in groups, go through the verification process, and Croatia has also opened three checkpoints at the border crossings,” Hoffmann added.
Moreover, officials in BiH have announced that the number of Russian citizens could increase drastically in the coming period, which could represent a kind of security problem in our country. Also, the border of BiH and Croatia will be the external border of the Schengen zone from January 1st, 2023, which will be an additional challenge for the EU.
Freelance journalist from Velika Kladusa Ademir Veladzic reported that yesterday at the Border crossing Maljevac region there were several dozen Chechens, of whom about twenty entered Croatia. The rest will wait for a second chance or the ”green light” from the Croatian border guards, Klix.ba reports.