Ukraine extradites man who organized illegal migrant trafficking to Poland

Ukraine has extradited to Poland a businessman who organized illegal migrant trafficking via Belarus to the EU through the Polish border, the Security Service of Ukraine said, according to Politico.

According to the investigators, the man is citizen of a South Asian country who arrived in Ukraine in the early 2000s, the Security Service, known as the SBU, said in a statement Friday. After the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the man organized a human-trafficking corridor to undermine European security, the SBU said.

“With the help of his foreign connections, the businessman organized the mass illegal transfer to the EU of people from countries with a high terrorist risk. In particular, citizens of Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan,” the SBU said in the statement. “The so-called refugee route ran through the territory of Russia and Belarus, and then to Poland, bypassing the established official checkpoints,” the agency said.

The perpetrators tried to “disperse” up to a hundred illegal migrants in various European countries, who were divided into separate groups, according to the SBU statement.

The SBU and Polish partners last year detained several members of the human-trafficking operation on EU territory, the SBU said without specifying where. The organizer of the illegal migration corridor was detained later in the western Ukrainian city of Khmelnytskyi, the agency said.

“He has been extradited to Poland, where he was on an international wanted list. There, the foreigner will be held responsible for crimes committed against European security,” the SBU said.

Earlier this month, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that Poland is facing a hybrid war in illegal migration from Belarus, adding that the Polish government is planning to bolster fortifications all along its eastern border with Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

Poland in 2021 accused Belarus of letting thousands of undocumented migrants through the border into the EU. Belarusian officials have denied the charge, even though illegal migrants themselves admitted that the Belarusian government forced them to storm the border with Poland and even gave them tools to cut fences.