Since midnight, about 180 illegal migrants who intended to cross the Lithuanian state border from Belarus have not been allowed into Lithuania, reports Delfi.
According to the head of the State Border Protection Service of Lithuania, Rustamas Liubajevas, the border guards received the authority to send back illegal migrants trying to cross into Lithuania following the order by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Agne Bilotaite.
According to Liubajevas, migrants were being turned back along the entire Lithuanian-Belarusian border, mainly near the town of Varėna.
Earlier, the Lithuanian authorities accused the border guards of Belarus of assisting illegal immigrants who want to cross the border. Employees the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontext, who help Lithuanian border guards patrol the border, filmed a group of illegal immigrants who were accompanied by a car of the Belarusian State Border Service.
As Delfi notes, more than 4,000 migrants from Belarus crossed the border this year. Their number has increased dramatically in recent weeks. Sometimes more than 100 people are detained each night by Lithuanian border guards. Last Sunday, the Lithuanian border service detained 289 people who illegally crossed the border. This is a record number for the whole of 2021.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė said that this is a "hybrid aggression" carried out by self-proclaimed Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Vilnius believes that he is taking his revenge on Lithuania for its tough stance against the Belarusian regime. In early July, the Lithuanian government introduced a state of emergency in the country due to the large influx of illegal migrants from the territory of Belarus.
In late May, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, in response to European sanctions over the forced landing of a Ryanair passenger plane, announced that Minsk would no longer help Western countries control drug trafficking and illegal migration through Belarusian border.