Since 1 June 2021, more than 1,000 migrants have attempted to cross the border from Belarus to Lithuania. Lithuanian prime minister Ingrida Simonyte claimed that, over the past month and a half, more migrants have tried to cross the state borders than in the last four years combined. The Lithuanian State Border Guard Service has declared a state of emergency and has started to build a fence on the almost 700km long border. The European Border & Coast Guard agency tasked with protecting the EU’s external borders. Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, is to send a rapid intervention force to Lithuania to assist the national guard service.
However, the extreme influx of mostly Middle Eastern and African migrants is not a result of rising tensions in the Middle East or civil wars in Africa. Lithuanian and EU officials accuse Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, president of Belarus, of actively encouraging migrants to cross the border. ‘’Travel agencies are set up that facilitate direct flights connecting Minsk and Baghdad, and agencies both in Belarus and other countries collaborate to attract ‘tourists’ to Minsk’’, Simonyte told international news organisation Reuters.
Why would Belarus do this?
The relationship between Belarus and the EU is, to put it lightly, rocky. Or, as the European An institution representing the
Human lives as political weapons
And now, it seems as though Lukashenko is weaponising human lives with the aim of punishing the EU for the imposed sanctions against him and other key players in the Belarusian regime. Many migrants attempting the border cross are completely unaware of the tensions and are hoping to find a better life once they cross the Lithuanian border and enter the EU. Lithuania, however, is doing everything in its power to prevent the migrants from entering the country. In 2021, 118 migrants have so far applied for asylum in Lithuania, all of whom got denied according to the Interior Ministry’s department for migration. Furthermore, as a response to the current situation, the Lithuanian parliament passed a law allowing authorities to process and return migrants faster, and legalising detention for migrants for up to six months without a court order. This, in combination with the strict border security from both The European Border & Coast Guard agency tasked with protecting the EU’s external borders. Frontex and the national border guard, makes it almost impossible for migrants to legally set foot in Lithuania.
Belarus pushes migrants over the border and Lithuania pushes them back even harder. As a result, many migrants are currently stuck in hastily set up camps on the Lithuanian border, being left as used weapons in a war they know nothing about. Laurynas Kasciunas, a Lithuanian An