Border guards in Lithuania have been authorized to use "deterrent actions" to reject illegal aliens amid a massive migration surge, according to reports.
Thousands of migrants hailing mostly from the Middle East and Africa have been pouring into the tiny Baltic nation through Belarus amid deteriorating relations between Minsk and the European Union.
Authorities in Lithuania have announced that illegal migration will no longer be tolerated.
"Anyone attempting to enter Lithuanian territory illegally will be refused entry and will be directed to the nearest operational international border checkpoint," said Rustamas Liubajevas, head of the Lithuanian border guard, on Tuesday.
"Deterrent actions may be taken against those who do not comply."
Around 180 illegal migrants were returned to Belarus on Tuesday, he added.
More than 4,000 migrants, many of whom are Iraqis, have entered Lithuania so far this year - up from just 81 in 2020.
Lithuanian officials say a steady stream of migrants are arriving aboard flights to Minsk and have accused the Belarusian government of helping them travel onwards to destinations inside the E.U.
After Iraqi Airways initially announced plans to double the number of flights to Minsk in August, Iraq suspended all flights to Belarus for 10 days under pressure from the E.U.
The substantial uptick in migrant traffic came after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko threatened to allow aliens and drugs to flood Europe amid fraying diplomatic ties with the E.U. earlier this year.
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