Coast guard unit to help Lithuania respond to threats more promptly – minister

  • 2023-09-15
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS –  Lithuania's re-established Coast Guard Frontier District will help border guards to respond to threats more promptly, Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite said on Friday.

"The decision to re-establish the Coast Guard Frontier District was made to significantly improve our ability to respond quickly to new challenges, because maritime border protection is specific," she told reporters in the Curonian Spit municipality of Neringa. 

The plan is to re-established the Coast Guard Frontier District early next year, according to the minister. 

The unit will operate in the border area along the borders with Russia and Latvia, in territorial waters, along the coastline, in seaports, in airports located within its operational are, and in the Curonian Lagoon.

The Interior Ministry says the Coast Guard Frontier District will have migration and criminal intelligence units and will ensure a more effective fight against smuggling and illegal migration.

It will also contribute to the protection of strategic facilities, including the Klaipeda LNG terminal, which is located within its area.

The Coast Guard Frontier District operated within the SBGS before it was merged into the Pagegiai Frontier District in early 2020. The Coast Guard Division was then set up within the Pagegiai district for the protection of the state border in the territorial sea and the Curonian Lagoon.

Rustamas Liubajevas, the SBGS chief, said in Neringa on Friday that the decision to dismantle this unit was aimed at saving and redistributing funds, but "failed to consider all aspects".

"The security situation was different both at the Russian border and at the Belarusian border," he said.

Lithuania shares a 255-kilometer land border with Russia, 18 kilometers along the Curonian Lagoon, and 22 kilometers along the Baltic Sea.