Around 180 irregular migrants have been pushed back from the Lithuanian border since Tuesday midnight, according to the chief of the Border Guard Service (VSAT), Rustamas Liubajevas.
“More than 100 migrants were not allowed into the territory of the Republic of Lithuania,” he told reporters on Tuesday afternoon, later revising the number to around 180.
On Monday, Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė signed a decree allowing border guards to stop irregular migrants from crossing into Lithuania from Belarus and to direct them to border checkpoints or diplomatic representations.
Commenting on the move, Bilotaitė told LRT TV on Monday evening that turning back migrants was allowed under international law, as long as it was a temporary measure and migrants were offered an alternative option to apply for asylum.
Liubajevas said that no special measures were used to order migrants to turn around, without providing any more details or examples.
“I really couldn't, at this stage, comment on tactical solutions since all of us need to perform our duties. As the VSAT commander, I have to ensure general command and officers accordingly have to perform their duties,” he said.
“In every specific case, officers in place make decisions on the use of deterrence measures or any other measures of impact,” he said.