Lithuania may declare an emergency due to a substantial increase in the flows of undocumented migrants entering the country from Belarus, Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė said on Friday.
“We will monitor the situation on the weekend and will likely make decisions on Monday,” she said, adding that the country might have to declare an emergency situation at the border to mobilise more resources.
On Friday, she visited the Foreigners' Registration Center (URC) in Pabradė, eastern Lithuania. A temporary camp is being built on its premises to accommodate up to 350 people, as the existing facilities are almost full.
The tents would only be offered to single males, while families with children, people with disabilities, the elderly or otherwise vulnerable people would be accommodated in other premises, according to Bilotaitė.
Some 328 undocumented migrants have been detained while crossing into Lithuania from Belarus this year, including 140 people since June 1.
Following the international uproar to the forced grounding of a Vlnius-bound Ryanair flight in Minsk, Belarus’ Alexander Lukashenko said his country would no longer stop “drugs and migrants”. Lithuania’s officials have then alleged that Belarusian officers are complicit in facilitating the crossings.
The number of undocumented migrants entering Lithuania has been increasing following a slump last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.