From now on, Lithuania provides asylum seekers with the opportunity to file their requests at the country’s embassy in Minsk.
The corresponding order was signed on September 21 by National Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas, Delfi.lt reports. It has come into force today.
“Foreigners’ asylum requests can be lodged at the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in the Republic of Belarus,” the document reads.
As reported earlier, in response to Western sanctions imposed on the regime in 2021, Alyaksandr Lukashenka threatened to loosen control over the flow of migrants and banned substances (even nuclear materials) at the border with the European Union. Unfortunately, he is sticking to his word, and the scale of the hybrid aggression waged by the Belarusian authorities has resulted in the growth of the flow of irregular migration.
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; to put that in context, the Lithuanian side detained 46 illegal migrants in the year of 2019, 104 – in 2018, 72 – in 2017. Poland and Latvia have also faced the challenge of irregular migration this year.
Lithuania, along with other EU member countries, accuses the Belarusian border guards of ignoring the trespassers and even assisting them in their illegal moving. The European Union sent 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 August 3, Lithuania’s border service started to divert illegal migrants entering the country from Belarus.
“To protect the state border and to prevent persons who plan to cross the border in illegal places from entering Lithuania’s territory, an order has been made to oblige them to use legal ways of crossing the border or asking for asylum and to divert persons to the nearest operating international border checkpoint or diplomatic representation,” Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite said then.
However, According to Deputy Interior Vice Minister Arnoldas Abramavicius, there have been no cases of asylum requests lodged at border checkpoints; the official puts down this fact to the actions of Belarusian officers who do not let migrants through border checkpoints.