‘If we don’t get through we’ll be on the streets’: Chechen families fleeing persecution turned away at the Polish border
Early in the morning refugees come to the Brest train station to have another try asking for asylum in Poland.
As the rose-fingered dawn illuminated the grand Stalin-era facade of Brest railway station on Monday morning, Yakha and Islambek Magomedov and their five children joined the queue for the early commuter train across the border to Teraspol in Poland.
But by midday, they were back on the sunbaked platform, hungry, tired, and fearful for the future.
“That was our fifth attempt. Now the money has run out, we’ve nothing left. We’ll try again tomorrow. It is our last roll of the dice. If we don’t get through we’ll be on the streets,” said Islambek, the 54 year old father of the family, later that afternoon.
The Magomedovs – not their real family name – are among dozens of families fleeing persecution caught in the suspended animation of a little reported refugee crisis on Europe’s eastern border.
The refugees here come from across the former Soviet Union, but they are overwhelmingly from Chechnya.