State of emergency to expire in Lithuania on Wed, new emergency regime due from Friday

  • 2022-04-20
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The state of emergency introduced in Lithuania two months ago due to the war in Ukraine is set to expire on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the government intends to propose to the Seimas to adopt a new resolution introducing the same emergency regime from April 22 until June 29, inclusive.

“A draft decision on the introduction of the state of emergency prepared by the Interior Ministry will be submitted to the government. It calls for the introduction of the state of emergency beginning at 00.00 a.m. on April 22 and ending at 11.59 p.m. on June 29,” Mindaugas Bajarunas, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told BNS.

Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas earlier said that the grounds to continue the state of emergency remained unchanged.

The draft’s explanatory note points to aggressive policies pursued by Russia’s and Belarus’ regimes with respect to their citizens, which have led to an increased probability of their emigration from their respective country, as well as to the “intensified activity of individuals observed in the vicinity of installations important for national security, including potential collection of information”.

“It is necessary to pave the way to prevent illegal entry to the Republic of Lithuania for individuals (including potential “little green men”) by ensuring enhanced border protection and assessment of potential threats while simultaneously ensuring the humanitarian admission of people fleeing military aggression,” the explanatory note reads.

On the other hand, the proposal on the new state of emergency excludes an earlier ban to take pictures, film or otherwise record, collect on-the-spot information about companies, installations and assets that are part of the energy sector and are important for national security as well as about the movement of military equipment of Lithuania and its allies.

However, the proposal calls to leave in place the ban to rebroadcast in the territory of Lithuania or disseminate online any programs of entities established, owned directly or indirectly, controlled or financed by Russia and Belarus, with some exceptions.

The ban to organize or gather at assemblies “aimed at supporting, in any form or scope, the actions of the Russian Federation and/or the Republic of Belarus, which caused the introduction of the state of emergency”, should also remain in place, as should the suspension of acceptance of visa applications from the citizens of Russia and Belarus, with certain exceptions.

The state of emergency was introduced across Lithuania on February 24 when Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine and will stay in place until the midnight of April 20.

A one-day break will be made in order to enable the parliament to adopt constitutional amendments on Thursday.

The state of emergency has stalled parliamentary voting on certain constitutional amendments, including those on direct mayoral elections, as the Constitution cannot be amended during the state of emergency or during the martial law period.