‘State-sponsored use of irregular migration flow’: Baltic PMs call for new sanctions against Minsk

Photo: Sputnik Литва

On Friday, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė had a remote conversation her Estonian and Latvian counterparts, Kaja Kallas and Krišjānis Kariņš, respectively. The ministers discussed the security situation on the border with Belarus and the joint response to the Lukashenka regime’s hybrid aggression against Lithuania and the EU.

According to Šimonytė, full responsibility for the smuggling of migrants and the consequences of this crime lie with the Belarusian authorities, as its state institutions and border services directly contribute to its organisation. The Baltic Prime Ministers emphasised that the EU must provide an appropriate response to Lukashenka’s regime, including by extending sectorial sanctions.

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They adopted a joint statement expressing their appreciation to the European Commission, Frontex, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), Europol, all the EU Member States, and partners for the political and practical support. The document calls on the EU Council and partners to extend individual and sectorial sanctions on the Belarusian regime, as well as to establish new sanctions regime targeting all parties involved in the state-sponsored use of irregular migration flows.

“Rapidly deteriorating situation on the EU external border requires swift, robust and decisive response to the Belarusian regime as well as intensification of the diplomatic, financial and technical support to Lithuania. The EU negotiations with the countries of origin of illegal migration are of paramount importance,” the statement reads.

The EU must be vigilant about the possible emergence of new routes for illegal migration through Belarus, the head of the Lithuanian government added.

Meanwhile, the ruling faction in Germany’s Bundestag (CDU/CSU) issued a strong statement on the situation in Belarus. German Christian Democrats accuse the regime of ‘state terrorism’, blaming it for killing opposition activists outside the country. They stressed the need for introducint tough and targeted sanctions against pro-Lukashenka officials and demanded that new free and fair elections in Belarus be held.

The total number of migrants illegally crossing the Belarusian-Lithuanian border in 2021 has exceeded 4,100, which is 50 times more than in the whole year of 2020. As reported earlier, in response to Western sanctions imposed on the regime, Alyaksandr Lukashenka threatened to loosen control over the flow of migrants and banned substances (even nuclear materials) at the border with the European Union.

Night in neutral zone. Reportage about migrants on Lithuanian-Belarusian border