ARCHIVE – A member of the Lithuanian Border Guard patrols the border with Belarus with a dog. Photo: Mindaugas Kulbis / AP / dpa
According to this, the officers equipped with shields and helmets are said to have pushed a group of 35 migrants across the border and entered Lithuanian territory. They are said to have withdrawn to Belarus only after repeated requests. The border guard announced this on Facebook on Tuesday evening. A video published by the authorities in Vilnius is said to prove the incident. The recordings are said to have been made on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border.
Lithuania could not tolerate such a provocation, said Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite. She announced that she would continue to increase capacities for border protection.
Lithuania has been struggling for weeks with an increased influx of migrants, especially from the Middle East, across the border with Belarus. Since May, more than 4,100 refugees have illegally crossed the green border between Lithuania and its neighboring country – compared to 81 in the entire previous year. The Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko had previously openly threatened to allow people from countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria to cross the border into the EU in response to EU sanctions imposed on his country.
At the beginning of August, the border guards of the Baltic country began to reject migrants who want to enter the country illegally via Belarus. The authoritarian leadership in Minsk then closed parts of its border. Belarus wants to prevent migrants who have fled to Lithuania from returning to its territory.
Lithuania’s government speaks of “hybrid warfare” against its own country and the entire EU. This Wednesday, the interior ministers of the EU countries want to deal with the situation in a video conference.