Wed, 29 Nov 2023

PRAGUE, Czech Republic: Czech police detained a van carrying 15 illegal migrants on October 1, after renewing border checks following a surge of migrants across its border.

Austria has similarly increased its checking of vehicles at its borders.

According to Czech police, there were traffic delays, especially for trucks, as authorities checked for migrants at 27 border crossings.

Czech authorities have said the border checks will continue for ten days, at the minimum.

While Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia belong to the European Union's visa-free Schengen zone, entitling residents of member nations to cross borders without presenting passports or visas, increasing numbers of countries have begun monitoring those coming across its borders.

Further, Czech police said 120 migrants were detained during the first eight hours the new monitoring went into effect.

"The goal isn't to complicate the lives of the Czech and Slovak citizens," Czech Interior Minister Vit Rakusan said after midnight at a border crossing. "The goal is only to make it clear to the groups of smugglers, who are the real criminals that they have a barrier at the border."

However, Slovakia Prime Minister Eduard Heger has been critical of the Czech move.

Following Russia's February invasion of Ukraine, the Czech Republic accepted some 430,000 Ukrainian refugees.

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