Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said on Wednesday that Lithuania will build a barrier on its border with Belarus to prevent the influx of immigrants and refugees from neighboring countries, which has led to the dispute with Minsk. upgrade.
This move is because more and more people accuse Belarus of allowing border crossings into Lithuania in retaliation for EU sanctions on the diversion of a passenger plane that was severely criticized in May and the subsequent arrest of a dissident journalist on board.
Lithuania is a member of this 27-member group and home to several self-exiled Belarusian opposition figures.
Simonite said at the press conference: “We will start to build an additional physical barrier to separate Lithuania from Belarus. This will be a sign and a deterrent to the organizers of illegal migration flows,” he added. , The barrier will be by the army.
Since the beginning of June, more than 1,000 have been detected Irregular intersection According to Simonyte, along the 680 kilometers (420 miles) border between Lithuania and Belarus.
In 2020, there will be 81.
Simonite said that Belarus has been offering flights to Minsk to immigrants and refugees, citing evidence found in at least one person arriving in Lithuania.
“There are travel agencies, such as direct flights between Minsk and Baghdad, and Belarus and other countries have travel agencies operating and attracting’tourists’ to Minsk,” Simonite told Reuters.
Since June 1, 1044 illegal immigrants have been detained on the border between the eastern European Union and Belarus.
enjoy #I The support ends here.
More urgent actions are needed in the future. https://t.co/afthiDi38t
-Ingrida Šimonytė (@IngridaSimonyte) July 5, 2021
Last week, due to a large influx, Lithuania declared a state of emergency.
The authorities set up tent camps to accommodate an increasing number of arrivals, most of them from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Cameroon. The Baltic country will also send delegations to Turkey and Iraq later this month to discuss the matter with the local government.
Lukashenko warns of further transit
Lithuania, which strongly opposes the Belarusian long-term president Alexander Lukashenko, said it suspects that the Belarusian government allows immigrants and refugees to pass through the border.
Lukashenko had previously announced that due to the forced landing of Ryanair’s plane in Minsk, the relationship between his government and the EU has declined, and his country will no longer try to prevent illegal immigrants and refugees from other countries from entering the EU. .
On Tuesday, he reiterated his warning.
“If anyone thinks we will close our borders with Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine and become a camp for people fleeing Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Tunisia, then they are wrong,” Lukashenko said on Tuesday. Said at a government meeting. .
“We will not keep anyone, they are not coming to us, but to an enlightened, warm and comfortable Europe,” he added mockingly.
The European Union has sent guards from its border agency Frontex to the Lithuanian border in response to the rapidly evolving immigration crisis.
European Council President Charles Michel promised during a visit to the Lithuanian border village of Meninkai on Tuesday that “we will do our best to provide more support so that the Lithuanian authorities can overcome these difficulties and find solutions.”
Simonite, who accompanied Michel, accused the Belarusian authorities of encouraging the flow of migrants as a “mixed attack.”
“We must protect not only the borders of Lithuania, but also the external borders of the European Union,” she said.
As Lukashenko was re-elected for a sixth term in the controversial elections in August 2020, the European Union last year imposed far-reaching economic sanctions on Belarus regarding the passenger plane incident and its response to large-scale anti-government demonstrations.
The Belarusian authorities completely suppressed the demonstrations. Thousands of people were arrested and police brutality was reported. Most of Lukashenko’s opponents are now either in prison or have fled the country.