Migrant border crossings have seen a 15-fold increase through Europe's eastern frontier in the first 10 months of this year, EU border agency Frontex says.
The number of people trying to enter Europe "illegally" has risen significantly this year.
About 160,000 "illegal border crossings" were recorded in the first 10 months of this year, the European Union’s border and coast guard agency, Frontex, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The figure surpasses migrant border crossing figures from 2019.
The biggest rise was at the EU’s eastern borders, in the Balkans region and via central Mediterranean Sea crossings.
Almost 8,000 people, most of them Iraqis, Afghans and Syrians, entered through the EU’s eastern frontier, a 15-fold increase over 2020.
Crossings from Belarus hit a peak of more than 3,200 in July, but dropped to over 600 by October.
The agency said that 48,500 crossings were reported on the “Western Balkans Route”.
Mediterranean Sea crossings
Arrivals via the central Mediterranean also rose, reaching 6,240 in October, which is 186 percent more than in 2019.
Frontex said a “significant development” is that a growing number of migrants are crossing by sea into Italy, mostly from Libya and other parts of northern Africa.
More Egyptians are arriving through the central Mediterranean from Libya. Migration to the island of Cyprus is also on the rise.
The agency said that 16,390 “illegal border crossings” were reported on the western Mediterranean route, often into Spain from northern Africa, but the numbers were 23 percent less than in 2019.
Frontex has referred to the crossings as illegal even though the UN has pressed the EU to end the rising practice of migrant pushbacks, which are illegal under international refugee treaties.