Physical barrier on Lithuanian-Belarusian order would cost EUR 15 mln. – committee chair

  • 2021-06-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The installation of a physical barrier on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border would cost around 15 million euros, says Laurynas Kasciunas, chairman of the Lithuanian parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense.

"The Interior Ministry is now carrying out a feasibility study, but an amount of around 15 millions euros is now being mentioned. (…) The fact is that we need to consider all scenarios, and a physical barrier is one of those things we have to speak about, consider and evaluate where they are needed," the lawmaker told journalists after a meeting of the State Defense Council on Monday.

Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite underlined if the inflow of migrants entering from Belarus further rose, this element (barrier – BNS) would be considered, taking into consideration the cost and possible effectiveness.

"There's a certain ongoing discussion of the need for a physical fence. But we are still discussing it, and there's a need for a detailed cost-benefit analysis," the minister said.

Both Bolotaite and Kasciunas also pointed out to the risk of smuggling, with Bilotaite saying that it's being used "to fund the Belarusian regime".

Kasciunas believes a physical barrier would not only stop the inflow of illegal migrants from Belarus but would also help to fight against smuggling. He thinks such a barrier should be built in the most vulnerable border areas.

Some 440 illegal migrants have entered Lithuania from Belarus so far this year, which is almost six times more from what was recorded over the whole year of 2020.

Bilotaite said earlier the spike in illegal crossings is the result of the Minsk regime's deliberate policy against Lithuania, which she says signals the start of a "hybrid war".