Belarus: Expert discusses ‘influx’ of migrants to Lithuania
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Brussels is expected to send around £10million to Vilnius to stop migrants illegally entering the bloc through its border with Belarus. Lithuania has detained almost 4,000 illegal migrants, which it says have flown into Belarus’ capital Minsk before heading north to cross into the EU state. One possible answer to the solution is the creation of a new border fence reinforced with two layers of barbed wire to cover its 340-mile border with Belarus.
The Donald Trump-style wall is expected to cost some £35million by the time it is finished.
Officials have blamed President Lukashenko for the uplift in migrant crossings, insisting the rogue leader has openly allowed would-be asylum seekers to enter the EU unchallenged.
EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson said: “What we are facing is an aggressive act from the Lukashenko regime designed to provoke.
“The situation is getting worse and deteriorating. There is no free access to EU territory.”
She said the initial financial package sent by Brussels would provide around £10million for immediate emergency funding.
A team of officials is also set to be sent to Lithuania to assess longer-term financial aid, including for extra border security and facilities to process illegal migrants.
Lithuanian premier Ingrida Simonyte has warned that her country would require “tens of millions of euros” by the end of the year if the number of people attempting to cross the border from Belarus continued at the same pace.
Vilnius has accused Belarus of “weaponising” illegal immigration to put pressure on the Baltic country over housing its opposition leaders.
Many of the migrants have travelled from Iraq, with the war-torn country’s national airline offering flights to Minsk.
The EU has slapped the Lukashenko regime with rafts of sanctions, following on from what critics call a fraudulent election and the hijacking of a Ryanair plane to kidnap a dissident journalist.
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Brussels believes the increased number of migrants flooding into the bloc is retaliation from Minsk after the President and his allies were targeted.
President Lukashenko has been in control of the country for 27 years and is considered Europe’s last dictator.
He sparked mass protests in August after he claimed victory in a contested presidential election.
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The UK has joined the international effort to sanction President Lukashenko and his regime’s top officials.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold talks on human rights abuses later today with Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
it comes after Olympic sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya fled to Poland for sanctuary in fear of President Lukashenko’s regime.
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