Belarus Fueling Migrant Surge Into Lithuania - Reports

The government of Belarus is being blamed for an increasing number of third-country migrants illegally entering Lithuania in recent weeks, according to reports.

A substantial uptick in migrant traffic across the border between the two countries has come after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko threatened to allow migrants and drugs to flood Europe amid fraying diplomatic relations with the E.U.

"We were stopping migrants and drugs - now you will catch them and eat them yourself," Lukashenko said during a speech to parliament in May.

Large groups of 'asylum seekers' hailing mostly from Iraq and Syria have been arriving in Lithuania since Lukashenko's threat, and MPs are warning as many as 300 could enter weekly.

Lithuanian officials say a steady stream of migrants are arriving aboard flights to Minsk and believe the Belarusian government may be helping them travel onwards to the tiny Baltic nation.

“There are flights from Baghdad to Minsk and from Istanbul to Minsk on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This means a total of four flights, which correlate with the waves of migration,” Laurynas Kasčiūnas, chairman of the parliament's Committee on National Security and Defence, said last week. “These flights basically bring people from Syria, Iraq. Four flights and 600 people."

"Of course, not all of them travel via Lithuania and not all of them are migrants. Hence we estimate 200 to 300 people per week, that’s the worst-case scenario.”

Lithuania is now building a temporary migrant camp in Pabradė designed to hold up to 350 people and the government is considering declaring a state of emergency.

“What’s worrying is that when the Belarusian side is asked about illegal migrants on our side, we get answers that no, they don’t see anything,” Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite recently informed parliament.

“This is a sign that it’s a deliberate policy and deliberate actions against the Lithuanian state.”


The start of the G7 was the predictable embarrassment only Joe Biden could deliver.

(PHOTO: PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP via Getty Images)

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