Lithuania suspends million-worth payments to Belarus under EU program

  • 2020-10-08
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The Lithuanian government has suspended 5.8 million euros in payments to Belarus under EU-funded programs following Belarusian law enforcement's crackdown on peaceful protesters after the rigged presidential in the country, Lithuania's Interior Ministry said on Thursday.

"After the election in Belarus, Lithuania has suspended all payments as part of joint projects with Belarus. We are now awaiting the European Commission's clarification on the further implementation of the program," Vice Minister of the Interior Tautvydas Tamulevicius told BNS.

"The total value of the suspended payments stands at 5.8 million euros. The decision was made taking into the arising risks over the proper use of funds," he said.

Reuters news agency was the first to break the new of the payment suspension.

There have been Lithuanian and international media reports lately that Belarus purchased drones for EU funds, and that Lithuania was involved in the project.

Lithuania's Police Department says it transferred funds received from the European Commission to the Belarusian State Committee for Forensic Science in May, with three months until the presidential election in Belarus that was followed by a brutal law enforcement crackdown against protester.

According to Lithuania's police, the Belarusian bought the equipment themselves.