Ambassadors of Lithuania’s closest ally countries acquainted with irregular migration from Belarus
On 28 June at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassadors of the countries of the European Union, NATO and the Eastern Partnership's 'Associated Trio' (Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine), who reside in Vilnius, were acquainted with the latest data on the illegal migration flows to Lithuania prompted by Lukashenko's regime and actions taken by Lithuanian state institutions to prevent irregular migration to the EU.
The Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Mantas Adomėnas, the Vice-Minister of the Interior Arnoldas Abramavičius, representatives from the State Border Guard Service and the Migration Department informed that in the first 6 months of this year almost three times as many irregular migrants had crossed the Lithuanian state border as in the last three years (2018-2020).
At the same time, the situation is much better than it was in Greece or other southern European countries during the surge of irregular migration. Lithuanian officials assured that the situation was currently under control, additional budgetary allocations were planned for its management, additional places for temporary accommodation of migrants were installed in the tent town of Pabradė, and the surveillance of the state border with Belarus was strengthened.
Preventive preparations are also underway with EU institutions and other international partners for a scenario when increased irregular migration flows remain high. Responsible Lithuanian authorities are working with the countries of origin of irregular migrants to gather more information about the organisers of this wave and to address the root causes of migration. Lithuania expresses gratitude to all EU countries and other international partners for their readiness to cooperate and exchange experience gained when facing previous migration waves, as well as to the EU Frontex agency for providing practical support.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminds that irregular migration flows increased especially after Lukashenko’s appeal to Belarusian parliamentarians, governors and the Constitutional Commission of 26 May. During the meeting, Lukashenko threatened Lithuania and other neighboring countries that they would have to “eat drugs and catch illegal migrants”, which until then allegedly had been prevented by Belarus. After these declarations, 399 of the total 587 this year's irregular migrants were detained on the Lithuanian border in June alone. More than 85 % of them come from Iraq, Iran, Syria and other countries in the Middle East.