Lithuania to Station Army on Belarus Border for Extra Protection

Lithuania will send the military to reinforce its border with Belarus, which has illegally sent immigrants into the Baltic country in protest at European Union sanctions against it.

The move will double the physical presence on the 670-kilometer (416-mile) frontier and assist border guards, Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said Wednesday. The government, which declared a state of emergency last week over the influx, also plans to build a wire barrier to obstruct crossings, she said.

Lithuania is seeing a flood of Iraqi and African migrants arriving from Belarus, whose already tense relations with the West soured further in May when it forced a Ryanair Holdings Plc jet to land in Minsk so it could arrest an opposition journalist.

Belarus’s president, Alexander Lukashenko, threatened in a speech that month to send drugs and undocumented migrants into the EU unchecked, with Lithuania a prime target as it’s become a temporary home for his political rivals.

As well as beefing up defenses itself, the country is awaiting additional assistance from Frontex, the EU’s border agency.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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