Closure of some Lithuanian border crossings with Belarus 'a matter of time'

  • 2023-08-04
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The closure of some Lithuanian border checkpoints is only a matter of time because of Wagner mercenaries' presence in Belarus, Laurynas Kasciunas, chairman of the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense (CNSD), said on Friday. 

"I have always said that this (closing the border with Belarus) can be an option and that we can do so," Kasciunas told LRT Radio. "In fact, the CNSD made a recommendation a couple of months ago to consider closing certain border crossings." 

"Closing some checkpoints is only a matter of time. It will definitely be done. I will not go into details now as to which of them, but if we see that the situation is worsening, then a decision will be made to close the border completely," he said.

President Gitanas Nauseda said during his visit to Poland's northeastern Suwalki Region on Thursday that that Vilnius, Warsaw and Riga had to be ready to close their borders with Belarus together if the security situation deteriorated because of the Wagner mercenaries.  

Polish officials have said the authorities are considering a complete closure of the border with Belarus.  

"We are a bit different from the Poles, who are demonstrating their force at the border a bit more publicly," said Kasciunas. 

"We do less of that publicly, but the whole plan (...) is in place. At some stage, our armed forces would also be involved," he added. 

Nauseda and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in Suwalki Region on Thursday that there were currently about 4,000 Wagner mercenaries in Belarus. 

The Lithuanian president said some of them were close to the Lithuanian-Polish border, adding that the number of Wagner mercenaries in Belarus was not final and could reach 10,000 in the future.