VILNIUS – The countries of origin of irregular migrants coming to Lithuania have changed after a migration route from Iraq through Minsk has been closed but a new one via Moscow has opened, Rustamas Liubajevas, commander of Lithuania's State Border Guard Service, said on Monday
"The geography has changed fundamentally," Liubajevas told reporters. "Last year, most irregular migrants came from Iraq and Kurdistan. In February, March and April of this year, the majority of them were citizens of India and Cuba, as well as citizens of Sri Lanka, Syria and Afghanistan."
"The geography has changed because we have managed to stop all flights from Asian countries to Belarus [...] and to bring the situation at the state border under control thanks to Lithuania's rather tough policy," the commander said.
"Also, Alexander Lukashenko, the leader of the regime, seems to have lost interest, as he has realized that he has failed to achieve his political goals by organizing a hybrid attack against Lithuania and other EU countries," he added.
Since February, Lithuanian border guards have been observing a new trend where foreign nationals fly to Moscow or another Russian city and then travel to Belarus and try to cross the border into the EU, according to the commander.