Lithuania to Build Barrier on Belarus Border to Curb Migrant Flow

Lithuania will build a barrier on the border with Belarus to prevent migrants from illegally crossing into its territory, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte announced on July 7, accusing Belarus of allowing the crossings.

“We will begin building an additional physical barrier, which divides Lithuania and Belarus, which would be a certain sign and a certain deterrent to organizers of the illegal migration flows,” Simonyte said at a news conference.

Army forces will also be deployed to assist border officers in guarding the border, Simonyte said.

Simonyte accused Belarusian authorities of scheming the increasing flows of illegal migrations to Lithuania, saying that Belarus offered direct migrant flights to the Belarusian capital Minsk mainly from Baghdad, Iraq.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said that a large number of illegal migrants were also coming from Turkey.

Landsbergis said that he had asked Turkey to help identify the arrivals and that he was working to organize visits to Turkish capital Ankara and Baghdad next week to discuss migration.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko warned last May 26 that Belarusian authorities would no longer stop an influx of illegal migrants from abroad into the territories of members of the European Union (EU).

Lukashenko decided to allow migrants to cross Lithuania in response to the sanctions imposed by the EU after the Belarusian government forced a Ryanair flight to land in Minsk then arrested journalist Roman Protasevich onboard.

The EU has already dispatched personnel from its border agency Frontex to Lithuania’s border to help with the growing migrant crisis.

“Lithuanian borders are European borders. The EU implemented sanctions against Belarus and keeps fighting to promote our values. You can count on the EU to bring more support to Lithuania and its people,” European Council President Charles Michel stated on Twitter.

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