Lithuanian PM: the flow of migrants to Belarus has stopped

  • 2022-01-14
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The flow of migrants travelling to Belarus has dried up, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte has said.

“To our knowledge, [the flow of migrants to Belarus] has stopped… The regime is failing to organize it,” she told reporters on Friday.

With Lithuania's state of emergency on the border with Belarus set to expire at 12 midnight on Friday, the country would keep border controls in place, Simonyte said.

“For the time being, we will handle the situation in the same way as we did before the introduction of the state of emergency… That algorithm is known as we have been using it in our operations for many months,” she stated.

However, the prime minister admitted that the government might have to reintroduce the state of emergency.

“If the situation changes, if we see that it looks to someone that Lithuania has reduced its level of vigilance or is less inclined to protect the European Union’s (EU) borders, then we will possibly ask the Seimas to reintroduce the state of emergency,” Simonyte said.

Approximately 1,500-2000 migrants who could attempt crossing the border of Lithuania, Poland or Latvia in the future were staying in Belarus at present, she added.

The government last autumn asked the parliament to declare a state of emergency on the frontier with Belarus after thousands of migrants gathered on the Belarus side of the border with Poland and made attempts to force their way into the EU.

In November, the parliament declared the state of emergency along the border stretch and five kilometers inland, as well as in the migrant accommodation facilities in Kybartai, Medininkai, Pabrade, Rukla and Vilnius. 

More than 4,200 irregular crossed into Lithuania from Belarus illegally last year.

Lithuania and other Western countries accuse the Minsk regime of orchestrating the unprecedented migration influx, calling it "hybrid aggression".