Ex-Lithuanian leader calls for urgent construction of barrier on Belarusian border

  • 2021-08-03
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – As Lithuania is dealing with a major spike in the inflow of illegal migrants, the country's ex-President Dalia Grybauskaite has called for urgent construction of a physical barrier on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border, without a fear of higher costs.

"Urgent construction of a physical barrier. 24/7 and no fear of higher costs. If necessary, public procurement laws and procedures need to be amended. (…) The public procurement law has to be changed and one shouldn't fear "golden wall" accusations as we are now facing an existential state security challenge," she posted on Facebook on Tuesday.

In the absence of a physical barrier, the use of the army near the border is very dangerous, the ex president believes.

"In the absence of a physical barrier, it’s very dangerous to use the army as armed conflicts are likely, which is what they probably want to provoke. In the absence of any physical barrier, it's impossible to prove who crossed the border," the ex-leader wrote.

"Therefore, the introduction of a state of emergency near the border, without a very specific definition on how the army will be used, is very dangerous in terms of military conflicts," Grybauskaite underlined.

The ex-president also believes incoming cargo from Belarus should also undergo thorough checks or should even be stopped.

"There have been promises to organize major flows of contraband, migrants, and event reactive materials. And the promises have been delivered so far. Therefore, fertilizer shipments, carried by rail or trucks, from Belarus should be thoroughly checked or even restricted," Grybauskaite said.

Moreover, she urged to make and present specific proposals with other EU member states to urgently change the EU's migration policy, adding that the interpretation of the UN Refugee Convention has become so broad that it's making the EU itself unsafe.

The ex-Lithuanian leader also calls for seeking, with partners, the return of migrants to their countries of origin, implementing a migrant deterrence policy and dismantling criminal human trafficking networks.

Furthermore, Grybauskaite warns against major communication gaffes undermining reputation and confidence.

"Don’t promise what you cannot do. For example, do not pose against a wall you practically don't have," her post reads.

A record-high number of illegal migrants, 4,026, have illegally entered Lithuania from Belarus so far this year, with Lithuanian officials calling the influx of illegal migrants the Belarusian regime's hybrid aggression against Lithuania.

A state-level extreme situation is now in place in Lithuania.