Lithuania‘s intelligence is concerned about the sudden increased inflow of illegal migrants from Belarus. The Lithuanian authorities suspect that Belarus is actively passing migrants to EU Member State Lithuania to destabilise the European Union. The service takes into account an increased risk of terrorism.
This year, some 400 migrants, particularly from Iraq and Syria, have crossed the Belarusian-Lithuanian border so far. That’s five times as much as in the entire 2020, most of them arrived in the last two weeks.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said yesterday that Minsk is actively helping migrants across the border. According to the Interior Minister, migrants from Baghdad and Istanbul are being picked up. “Belarus is waging a hybrid war against us and this is one of the resources being deployed,” the Minister said.
The chief of Lithuanian intelligence SSD takes into account that terrorists and secret agents also travel among migrants. “We know that the KGB (the Belarusian Secret Service) wants spies in Lithuania. We can‘t follow everyone entering our country, but we need to be very alert,” he said in an interview.
Many Leaders of the Belarusian opposition live and work from the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. Among other things, the city has a Belarusian university ‘in exile‘. The presence of dissidents makes the country interesting for Belarusian secret services.
The intelligence chief says to look at recent developments in Belarus with great concern. He expects the country to be driven “further into the arms of Russia” by recent Western sanctions. They were set after the “hijacking” of a Ryanair aircraft, where the critical journalist Roman Protasevich was arrested.
Previously Lukashenko threat
The Belarusian dictator Lukashenko has vowed to take revenge on the European Union because of recent sanctions. He menacingly said, “We’re still stopping migrants and drugs for you now. You will have to catch and eat them yourself.”
According to Belarusian opposition media, 350 Iraqis arrived at Minsk Airport again today:
Cynically, it is virtually impossible for Belarusians themselves to leave the country nowadays. In December, it was stipulated that only Belarusians with a temporary residence permit were allowed to travel abroad from another country. For a few weeks now, this exception rule only applies to people with permanent residence permits elsewhere.
Extra tent camp and customs officers
The sudden influx raided Lithuania. The country has relatively small asylum facilities; the illegal influx of migrants takes place mainly at the European southern border. This is why the government is building a tent camp in order to accommodate hundreds of people.
The Interior Ministry also wants to allocate EUR 11 million to strengthen border security. A large part of the Belarus border of more than 700 kilometres is currently unguarded, causing a large gap in the European external border. The European Commission has also provided assistance.