Lithuania calls for new sanctions against the Lukashenka regime over its contributing to irregular migration to the European Union.
The EU should consider a fifth round of sanctions on Belarus because the country’s government is flying in migrants from abroad to send them illegally into the bloc, news agency Reuters quotes Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis.
In addition, Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement, in which they say that Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his cronies have a finger in the current migration crisis.
“Using migration as a weapon against EU countries is even more cynical than hijacking a Ryanair plane,” Landsbergis said.
He also called the illegal migration issue a power tool of the hybrid attack, the response to which should be ‘joint and painful’.
“Our policy should generally prevent other regimes from using people as an instrument of political blackmail towards the European Union as a whole,” he added.
As reported earlier, in response to Western sanctions imposed on the regime, Lukashenka threatened to loosen control over the flow of migrants and banned substances (even nuclear materials) at the border with the European Union.
This year, over 1,650 illegals have entered Lithuania from the territory of Belarus. This figure is 20 times higher than it was during the entire year of 2020. When the threat took a definite shape in early summer, Lithuania’s Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė appealed to the country’s Prosecutor General’s Office, drawing the agency’s attention to the illegal movement of people across the Belarusian-Lithuanian border. In turn, Gabrielius Landsbergis suggested Belarus was involved in delivering Syrians and Iraqis from Istanbul and Baghdad to its territory using the national tour operator Tsentrkurort, then so-called ‘tourists’ are taken to the border from Minsk.
In late June, the European Union announced sending employees of the EU Agency for External Border Security (Frontex) to Lithuania in order to strengthen the protection of the the EU-Belarus border from illegal migrants.
On July 8, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė announced mobilising military and installing ‘a physical barrier’ to protect the country’s border with Belarus. The Government of Lithuania also declared a state of emergency because of the sharp increase in illegal migration.