VILNIUS – As the weather is getting colder, Lithuanian is not planning to change its strategy of not allowing irregular migrants to enter the country, but will provide them with humanitarian assistance, Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite said on Tuesday.
"We are not going to change the strategy, because the decision has been taken to protect our borders and we will protect them. I have to state this clearly," the minister told reporters.
"Of course, humanitarian aid has to be provided and it will be provided," she added.
Nearly 4,200 migrants, mostly Iraqi citizens, have crossed into Lithuania from Belarus illegally so far this year.
In a bid to stem the unprecedented migration influx, which Vilnius says is being orchestrated by the Minsk regime, Lithuania in early August introduced a policy of pushing migrants back into the neighboring country.
In the wake of the decision, there have been cases of Belarusian officials refusing to allow migrants back into their territory, leaving them stranded at the border.
Poland drew criticism from human rights organizations after a group of migrants was trapped at its border with Belarus for several weeks.