Fortification of the border and improvement of monitoring systems will cost €42 million to Vilnius.
Due to the growing flow of illegal refugees arriving from Belarus, Vilnius plans to radically rebuild the border facilities at the border. According to the Lithuanian Ambassador to Germany, Ramunas Misyulis, the border reinforcement and improvement of surveillance systems will cost 42 million euros, Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland reports on Saturday, July 10.
The diplomat said in an interview with German publications that Lithuania sees illegal migration as “hybrid aggression” on the part of Belarus and expects support from the European Union. “Asylum seekers do not really want to go to Lithuania, but to Germany or Sweden,” Misulis pointed out, stressing that this is also a “common problem” in the EU.
Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko has repeatedly threatened to let refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and African countries into Europe in response to EU sanctions. According to official data, at the Belarusian-Lithuanian border, which is almost 680 kilometers long, 750 people were detained only during the first days of July, and more than 1,500 people have been detained recently, whereas there were only 81 such cases during the whole year of 2020.
The Lithuanian ambassador described suspicions that the Lukashenko regime is deliberately recruiting asylum seekers in their home country with the help of state travel agencies, giving them hope that they will be able to travel to the EU. It is likely, Vilnius believes, that the Belarusian KGB had a hand in this.
To control the flow of illegal migrants, Lithuania plans to build a 550-kilometer wall of barbed wire on the border with Belarus within a few months. Its construction was begun on Friday, July 9, by the Lithuanian army. According to Lithuanian Minister of the Interior Agne Bilotaite, it is planned to build a fence in parallel with the barbed wire barrier: “We will use the barbed-wire barrier, it will be double protection.