The influx of migrants from Belarus has put Lithuania under severe pressure in recent months. Now the crisis is supposed to be over. But the country remains vigilant.
According to the Lithuanian government, the flow of people from crisis regions to Belarus has subsided in the migrant crisis on the eastern EU border with Belarus. “According to the information available to us, he has stopped,” Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte told the BNS agency in Vilnius on Friday. “The regime fails to organize him.”
For months, thousands of migrants have been trying to get from Belarus to Poland or the Baltic States via the EU’s external borders. The EU accuses the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko of having flown people from crisis areas such as Iraq or Afghanistan to Minsk in order to then smuggle them into the EU.
The government in Vilnius has responded by increasing border protection and building hundreds of kilometers of border fences. The Lithuanian border guard has been turning migrants away since August 2021. Since then, more than 8,100 people have been prevented from crossing the border illegally, most recently with a clear downward trend.
Lithuania has therefore let the state of emergency declared in November in the border region with Belarus expire – it ends on the night of January 15th. Should the situation escalate again, the special regulation could be imposed again, said Simonyte. According to them, there are around 1,500 to 2,000 migrants in Belarus who could try to cross the EU’s external border in the future