Lithuania currently faces an influx of thousands of illegal migrants moving en masse from neighboring Belarus. The country is accusing the regime of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of taking revenge on the European Union through the deliberate transfer of migrants. Most of these migrants come from Iraq. The European Border Guard and Coast Guard Agency Frontex has captured a video that shows how migrants, accompanied by a military vehicle, cross the Lithuanian border.
According to the AP agency, almost 4,000 illegal migrants were detained in Lithuania this year alone. Most of them came from neighboring Belarus. According to Lithuanian authorities, the smuggling of migrants is part of Lukashenko’s retaliation against the EU for its criticism of the regime. Lukashenko has repeatedly harshly suppressed any civic activity opposing his authoritarian rule.
Helicopter footage taken by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex shows a group of illegal migrants crossing the Lithuanian border. The migrants were accompanied by a military vehicle, probably a vehicle of the Belarusian border guard or the army.
According to Lithuania, Lukashenko is waging a “hybrid war” with the European Union by transporting migrants. The Belarus-Lithuania border is both the external border of the EU and the Schengen area.
Flights from the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, now fly to Minsk four times a week, and, according to available information, Lukashenko is responsible for them. According to the opposition Nexta news outlet, based on Lukashenko’s decision, departures from other Iraqi cities – namely Basra, Sulaymaniyah, and Irbil – will be added. Tickets fly off the market very quickly. They are sold out until the autumn.
A few weeks ago, the Lithuanian government decided to build a 550-kilometer-long barbed wire fence. At the same time, the Lithuanian authorities moved virtually all available forces and border guards to the Belarusian border. At a part of the border of about 80 kilometers, the fence is already been built. About 260 kilometers of the border is monitored electronically. In total, the border is 680 kilometers long.
Title image: In this file photo taken on Saturday, July 10, 2021, Members of the Lithuania State Border Guard Service patrol on the border with Belarus with a Belarusian, left, and Lithuanian, center, near the village of Purvenai, Lithuania. Daily arrivals sometimes reach triple digits as migrants appear in the woods in front of Lithuanian border guards, run into local mushroom pickers, or simply walk into towns. There are nearly 1,700 asylum seekers, most having arrived in recent weeks, compared with only 80 for all of 2020. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis, File)