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2021.06.14 11:31

Lithuania will not declare emergency over migrants, minister says

BNS2021.06.14 11:31

There is no need to declare a state of emergency over the inflow of irregular migrants entering Lithuania from Belarus, Interior Minister Agne Bilotaitė said on Monday.

An informal cabinet meeting discussed migrant flows and challenges to Lithuania's migration system on Sunday, she said.

Read more: Lithuania builds temporary refugee camp, may declare emergency over irregular migration

“We agreed on joint coordinated action and mutual support, and also the assessment of our institutions' existing capabilities. With that in mind, and also planned assistance from international partners, there's no need yet to declare a state of emergency,” Bilotaitė said in a comment sent to BNS on Monday.

On Friday, she had suggested that Lithuania might declare an emergency due to an increase of migrants entering Lithuania from Belarus.

Following the international uproar over the forced grounding of a Vilnius-bound Ryanair flight in Minsk, Belarus’ Alexander Lukashenko said his country would no longer stop “drugs and migrants” entering the EU. Lithuania’s officials later alleged that Belarusian officers were complicit in facilitating the crossings.

The number of undocumented migrants entering Lithuania has increased following a slump last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lithuanian border guards have detained 387 irregular migrants, mainly Iraqi citizens, crossing into Lithuania from Belarus this year, compared to 81 last year, 46 in 2019 and 104 in 2018.

Read more: Belarus officers facilitate irregular migration to Lithuania – minister

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