Lithuanian formin on note to Belarus: it's hard to talk diplomatically with 'criminals'

  • 2021-10-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – It is difficult to talk with "criminals" in "any political-diplomatic language", Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Thursday, commenting on a note that Vilnius handed to Belarus on Wednesday in protest at repeated border violations.   

The minister told the Ziniu Radijas radio station that Vilnius' contacts with Minsk are currently minimal, as the Alexander Lukashenko regime continues to take "criminal measures to create pressure points" on the European Union, Lithuania, Poland and Latvia.

"Obviously, it is quite difficult to talk with criminals, as we call them, in any political-diplomatic language," he said. "You usually talk with criminals in court and [...] expect some punishment or at least compensation. That option is not off the agenda." 

The minister said he sees more sense in talks with airlines and countries from which migrant flows continue to arrive and are then redirected to Lithuania and other neighbors of Belarus. 

In response to statements by Germany's top diplomat that the key to solving the problem lies in Moscow, Landsbergis said that he does not rule out that "Germany's contacts with people in the Kremlin might be effective in persuading Lukashenko".

"But we need to understand what price we are going to pay when we talk with Putin about Belarus. Most likely, that price will be any statehood of Belarus. All paths need to be weighed. My suggestion would be to simply ask the Kremlin, when in contact with it, to stay out of Belarusian affairs," he said. 

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry handed its note to Belarus to express its "strong protest" at repeated violations of the Lithuanian state border.   

The move came after a Belarusian border guard walked up to a sign marking the Lithuanian state border near the municipality of Druskininkai on Monday.

Almost 4,200 migrants, most Iraqi citizens, have crossed into Lithuania from Belarus illegally so far this year. Vilnius accuses the Minsk regime of orchestrating the unprecedented migration influx, calling it "hybrid aggression"

Latvia and Poland have also been facing an increase in illegal migration flows in recent months.