Lithuania accuses Belarus of illegal border crossings | free press

According to the Lithuanian authorities, Belarusian officials illegally crossed the border into the EU country. The two states have been arguing for weeks over how to deal with migrants, especially from the Middle East.

Vilnius (dpa) – According to Lithuanian border guards, a dozen Belarusian security forces have illegally crossed the border into neighboring EU country Lithuania.

Accordingly, the officers equipped with shields and helmets allegedly pushed a group of 35 migrants across the border and entered Lithuanian territory.

They are said to have withdrawn from Belarus only after repeated requests. The border guard announced this on Facebook on Tuesday evening. A video published by authorities in Vilnius is said to prove the incident. The footage is said to have been taken on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border.

Lithuania could not tolerate such provocation, Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite said. She announced that she would continue to increase border protection capacity.

Lithuania has been struggling for weeks with an increased influx of migrants, especially from the Middle East, across the border with Belarus. Since May, more than 4,100 refugees have illegally crossed the green border between Lithuania and its neighbor – compared to 81 in the entire previous year. Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko had previously openly threatened to allow people from countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria to cross the border into the EU in response to EU sanctions imposed on his country.

In early August, the Baltic country’s border guards began refusing migrants seeking to enter the country illegally through Belarus. The authoritarian leadership in Minsk then closed parts of the border. Belarus wants to prevent migrants who have fled to Lithuania from returning to its territory.

Lithuania’s government speaks of “hybrid warfare” against its own country and the entire EU. This Wednesday, the interior ministers of the EU countries want to discuss the situation in a video conference.

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