Soldiers now have the right to stop, check and inspect vehicles and people inside them.
The Lithuanian military has been given expanded powers to act at the border amid a sharp increase in attempts by refugees to cross the border illegally from Belarus. The Lithuanian Seimas (unicameral parliament) approved a corresponding resolution of President Gitanas Nausseda on Friday, September 10th. Most deputies — 100 people — voted in favor of the decision, one parliamentarian was against it, and two more abstained.
Now the Lithuanian military has the right to stop, check and inspect vehicles, as well as cargo and people inside them. In addition, they are allowed to use special means. Nausea decision does not specify the means they are referring to.
Migration crisis at the border between Belarus and Lithuania
In late May, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said that Minsk would no longer detain illegal immigrants trying to enter the European Union, of which Lithuania is a member, through Belarus. In early July, Vilnius declared a nationwide emergency situation in the country. Later, a similar regime was introduced on the border with Belarus by Lithuania’s neighbor Latvia, as well as Poland.
In late August, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia accused Belarus of using illegal migrants as a weapon in the so-called hybrid war against the EU. The prime ministers of these countries, in a joint statement, called on the UN to take action against the Belarusian leadership for encouraging foreigners to cross the borders of the European Union illegally.
The European Union has allocated €36.7 million of emergency aid to Lithuania from the fund for asylum, migration, and integration. The funds will be used to maintain centers for illegal migrants, quarantine facilities, medical assistance, food, and clothing.