VILNIUS – Lithuanian border guards recorded an incident where Belarusian officers used metal shields to push a group of 13 migrants at the Belarusian border with Lithuania close to the district of Svencionys, the State Border Guard Service (SBGS) said on Thursday.
Lithuanian border guards said that “the migrants refused to go to Lithuania after staying between the two countries for several days, they also said that they wanted to return to Belarus and go home”. Lithuanian officers also reported that they had been supplying the migrants with food and water on a regular basis.
The video published by the service shows more than a dozen Belarusian officers wearing antiriot gear and holding metal shields surrounding a group of migrants sitting on the ground in no-man’s land between Belarus and Lithuania and pushing them gradually towards Lithuania’s frontier during the daytime.
The group of migrants apparently includes several minors.
Belarusian officers seen in the video urge the migrants to “Stand up” and “Go”. Also caught on the video were a Belarusian officer filming the operation as well as a group of Lithuanian officers and troops observing the situation from the territory of Lithuania.
The video also features comments of the situation made by an officer on patrol.
Rokas Pukinskas, spokesman for the SBGS, told BNS that the situation had taken place at the end of last week and in the beginning of this week and now the group of migrants was back on the territory of Belarus whereas Lithuanian border guards had not used physical force or special means against them.
He said he could not disclose any details about the means used to send the migrants back to Belarus. The service had not provided a video of the whole situation, including its ending.
According to unofficial sources, the so-called push-back measures used by Lithuanian border guards in such cases include the transportation of migrants to different border points when sending them back to Belarus.
Over 4,100 migrants have crossed into Lithuania from Belarus illegally so far this year, compared to just 81 in all of 2020.
Lithuania has declared a state-level extreme situation over the unprecedented migration influx which it says is being orchestrated by the Belarusian regime.