VILNIUS – Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has vowed to raise the issue of tightening the existing EU sanctions for Minsk after the Interior Ministry reported that migrants are being kept in inadequate conditions in Belarus and being sent to Lithuania.
"I believe we will definitely raise this issue. This is yet another chapter of the gross human rights violations we see in Belarus. We have raised these issues before, but I think we won’t let this stage go by unnoticed either," Landsbergis told reporters at the Seimas on Wednesday.
Lithuanian border guards have recently seen a new way of illegal migrants trying to enter the country as they have lately been arriving at the Lithuanian-Belarusian border barefoot in cold weather, putting pressure on border guards to let them in, Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite said earlier in the day.
In her words, nine migrants have been taken to medical establishments in Lithuania after they were intentionally held in tent camps in Belarus, not released, and they had no warm clothing and were not accustomed to winter conditions.
The Lithuanian interior minister says Lithuanian border guards provide such persons with humanitarian packages including warm clothes and footwear, but, she added, this doesn’t change the existing position of not allowing migrants in.
Lithuanian officers have prevented 45 migrants from entering Lithuanian from Belarus illegally over the past 24 hours. A total of 10,600 irregular migrants have been refused entry into Lithuania since January.
Lithuania calls the influx of migrants from Belarus, which started just over a year ago, a hybrid attack orchestrated by the Minsk regime.