Lithuania reports surge of illegal migration across border with Belarus

After last year’s presidential election in Belarus and the deterioration of relations between Lithuania and Lukashenka’s regime, the Lithuanian border guards are detaining more and more illegal migrants, Delfi reports.

According to the State Border Guard Service of Lithuania, 90 illegal migrants crossed the state border in the first quarter of 2021, while there were only five of them during the same period in 2020. Most of these migrants were Iraqi citizens – 59 people. The Iraqis arrive by plane to Minsk directly from Iraq, and from Minsk, they drive on to the Lithuanian border. After crossing the state border and being detained by Lithuanian border guards, they apply for asylum, although most often, their destination is other EU countries.

There are also cases when Belarusians choose to enter Lithuania illegally to escape repression. In Lithuania, they hope to receive asylum and humanitarian aid.

The Lithuanian State Border Guard Service representative, Giedrius Mišutis, says that the Belarusian border service has become slower in investigating border incidents. According to him, there are cases when the Lithuanian border guards record the violations and detain the violators, but the Belarusian officials refuse to meet.

“After receiving the refusal, the Lithuanian side provides evidence of the illegal border crossing in writing, which the agencies of the neighboring country do not recognize and require additional evidence. After providing additional evidence and even after appealing to the chief state border commissioner, the facts of crossing the border are either not recognized or there is no response to them,” said Giedrius Mišutis.