Lithuanian govt moves to extend state of emergency on borders with Russia, Belarus

  • 2022-11-30
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The government decided on Wednesday to ask the parliament to extend the existing state of emergency on Lithuania's borders with Russia and Belarus through March 16. 

The state of emergency, last extended in September, is now set to expire on December 16. 

The Cabinet approved the Interior Ministry's proposal to leave the legal regime in place in areas along Lithuania's state border with Belarus and Russia's exclave of Kaliningrad, and at border checkpoints outside these areas.  

The draft parliamentary resolution also calls for extending the existing entry ban on Russian citizens who do not meet certain criteria set by the government.

Under an agreement among the three Baltic countries and Poland, only Russian diplomats, dissidents, transport companies' employees, EU citizens' family members, and Russian citizens with residence permits or long-stay national visas from Schengen countries are allowed to cross the EU external border as of September.

Russian citizens can also transit through Lithuania by train to and from Kaliningrad Region. 

The ministry does not propose to introduce such requirements for Belarus' citizens. 

According to the draft resolution, Belarusians, as well as Russians, would remain subject to the existing visa restrictions, meaning that their visa applications will continue not to be accepted, unless requested by the Foreign Ministry.

The state of emergency was introduced nationwide on February 24 after Russia launched its war against Ukraine. In September, the legal regime was limited to the borders with Russia and Belarus, and border checkpoints.

A state of emergency was imposed on Lithuania's border with Belarus due to a wave of illegal migration in November 2021 and remained in place until mid-January.