VILNIUS – Installation of a physical barbed wire fencing designated to contain the flows of migrants at Lithuania's border with Belarus should be launched on Thursday or Friday, Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas has said.
“It will be launched most probably today or tomorrow, at the latest, but, of course, this would only be the beginning. As far as I know, the manufacturers have already been ordered to start winding the wire in coils and, if we are instructed to cover the entire border [with Belarus], then it will certainly take some time … as each of the manufacturers produces five kilometers per day,” he told BNS.
Military representatives confirmed to BNS that the so-called concertina wire would be used for fencing.
This dangerous barrier would be marked accordingly and would act as a “stopping buffer” that would be able to hold migrants back at the border for at least a short period of time until the arrival of border guards, Anusauskas said.
“We simply make a statement that we are closing this route opened by Lukashenko and, following the legislative amendments next week and the supplements that would speed up asylum procedures, economic migrants – but not political refugees – will be returned to their countries of origin. Hence this will mean huge losses for those people who are used by Lukashenko’s regime in this hybrid attack,” the minister said.
Lithuania has been facing a spike in illegal migration in recent months as the inflow of illegal migrants crossing into Lithuanian has gone up significantly, which, according to Lithuanian officials, is a hybrid attack organized by the Belarusian regime against Lithuania.
A total of 1,509 illegal migrants have been detained in Lithuania so far this year, up more than 18 times from last year, with the majority of them coming from the Middle East and African countries.
Lithuania has declared a state-level emergency due to the recent surge in illegal migration and is getting ready to build tent camps and modular housing for the accommodation of migrants. In addition, the authorities make arrangements for delegations to visit Turkey and Iraq – the two countries linked with the highest numbers of migrants crossing into Lithuania from Belarus.