Ukraine is sending 38 tons of barbed wire as humanitarian aid to Lithuania, which wants to build a fence on its border to protect the country from the influx of migrants coming through neighboring Belarus, according to the AFP agency.
Vilnius and the European Union suspect Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of controlling the influx of illegal migrants crossing the Lithuanian border. He is doing so in retaliation for the EU’s sanctions and Lithuania’s granting asylum and support to the Belarusian opposition. Lithuanian authorities have already detained more than 4,000 migrants, mostly from Iraq, compared to only 81 last year.
“The aid will help strengthen the protection of the Lithuanian border against illegal migrants,” the Ukrainian authorities said. This is the first delivery, with others to follow in September.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stressed that Lithuania is facing an unprecedented migration crisis. According to him, the country lacks barbed wire to build barriers that would prevent migrants from crossing borders.
On Tuesday, the Lithuanian Parliament gave the green light to this project. The costs are estimated at approximately 152 million euros.
The AFP agency pointed out that Belarus is an ally of Russia, an enemy of Ukraine, which hopes to one day join NATO and the European Union, just as Lithuania has already done. The Belarusian regime has suppressed the broad-based anti-Lukashenko protest movement that emerged after last year’s presidential election. Thousands of protesters and opposition activists were imprisoned or forced to emigrate.
Title image: Migrants prepare food at the newly built refugee camp in the Rudninkai military training ground, some 38km (23,6 miles) south from Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. Belarus’ border protection agency said Friday that it tightened control along its border with Lithuania to prevent Lithuanian authorities from sending migrants back to Belarus. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)