VILNIUS – The Lithuanian State Border Guard Service (VSAT) proposes to erect a four-meter-high welded wire mesh fence along the border with Belarus, which would cost more than 150 million euros.
"We are planning to build [a fence of] at least four meters from the ground, including concertina wire, on the state border," Deputy VSAT Commander Colonel Vidas Macaitis told BNS on Monday.
"[The fence] would be reinforced so that it could not be cut easily," he said.
The Y-shaped fence with concertina wire on top of it would run for 508 kilometers along the border with Belarus and would cost an estimated 152.460 million euros.
"We are now preparing the technical specifications and will start the procurement process shortly. Of course, the biggest problem is money," the deputy commander told BNS.
Depending on the funding, it may take between a year and three years to erect the fence.
Construction of the fence will start in the most vulnerable places – towards the border with Latvia and towards the border with Poland, according to the official.
European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson also said earlier on Monday that a physical barrier at Lithuania's border with Belarus was necessary.
"In my view, it's necessary to have some kind of physical barrier. This has been shown to me very concretely here," she told a news conference in the border town of Medininkai. "In my view, it's a good idea, actually, to build a physical barrier."
The Interior Ministry estimates that the installation of a physical barrier on the border with Belarus, including surveillance and other systems, could cost about half a billion euros in total.
Johansson told reporters that she could not yet say whether the fence could be financed by EU funds.
This year so far, almost 4,000 irregular migrants have crossed into Lithuania from Belarus, compared to 81 in the whole of 2020.
Lithuania has declared a state-level extreme situation over the migration influx which it says is being orchestrated by the Belarusian regime.