Lithuania accuses Belarus illegally migrating own citizens through its territory.
Written by crest887fm on August 19, 2021
Lithuania has accused 12 Belarusian officers in riot gear of illegally entering its territory to push a group of migrants over the border.
Its border service said the Belarusians were repeatedly told they had violated the border during the tense incident on Tuesday.
Belarus accused Lithuanian guards of being violent towards the migrants.
EU interior ministers condemned Belarus for trying to “instrumentalise human beings for political purposes”.
More than 4,100 mostly Iraqi migrants have entered EU member Lithuania illegally from neighbouring Belarus so far this year.
The rise in illegal crossings started in June after the EU imposed sanctions on Belarus’s long-time authoritarian leader, Alexander Lukashenko.
Lithuania and its allies have accused Belarus of flying in migrants from the Middle East to send across the border, in retaliation for EU sanctions. Belarus has denied this claim.
In an emergency meeting on Wednesday, EU interior ministers expressed solidarity with Lithuania, as well as Latvia and Poland, which are also affected by the influx of migrants. They agreed experts and equipment would be sent to beef up border controls.
Meanwhile in Vilnius, European Parliament President David Sassoli said Belarus could face tougher sanctions after a meeting with the Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte.