VILNIUS – As the inflow of migrants crossing the Belarusian-Lithuanian border grows, Lithuania's intelligence sees a higher risk of terrorists and people recruited by the Lukashenko regime entering Lithuania, Darius Jauniskis, director of Lithuania's State Security Department, says.
"I do understand we cannot put stamps on everyone and we in no way consider everyone criminals or spies, but that risk grows with an increasing inflow of refugees," he said in an interview with the 15min.lt news website.
Around 400 illegal migrants, mainly Iraq citizens, have tried to enter Lithuania from Belarus so far this year, which is five times more than over the whole year of 2020. It is causing more responsibility for Lithuania's intelligence to make sure no terrorists, as well as people infiltrated by special services, enter the country.
"As a risk, I see that if a higher number of people arrive in our state, especially if we pay attention to where they come from, we view it through another prism, in terms of the threat of terrorism. We very often don’t know who is entering our country as it's fairly hard to check facts as those people often don't have documents, they lie about their profession and education. In this respect, the SSD, responsible for the terrorism situation, should be very much concerned about that, and we are," Jauniskis said.
He also called the forced diversion and landing of a Ryanair passenger plane in Minsk in May "bold and brass", adding that Lithuania's intelligence is now working to get more specific information about this incident.
Meanwhile, the West's response to the Ryanair plane incident has pushed Belarus further towards the Russian side, which is very beneficial for Russia, Jauniskis said.
"So, we are watching increasingly deeper integration into the common state. I would not be surprised if certain processes take place soon and we will see Belarus as just an integral part of Russia. For Lithuania, it means that we will have a border with Russia. The imaginary buffer zone would just disappear," the SSD chief said.