2021.08.12 14:30

Lithuanian government tries to secure more powers for military in border areas

BNS2021.08.12 14:30

The Lithuanian government decided on Thursday to ask President Gitanas Nausėda to give additional powers to military personnel in border areas. 

The government wants the troops, who are patrolling the border with Belarus, to be able to give mandatory orders to civilians and prosecute and detain those who refuse.

The military would also be able to stop, check and inspect vehicles, people and luggage, and use special equipment if necessary.

The parliament has recently passed a package of legislative amendments that allow calling up military units and granting them additional powers in the so-called emergency situation.

That requires approval from the Seimas or the president in between parliamentary sessions. However, the president's decree has to be endorsed by the parliament at its next sitting.

The Seimas is currently in recess.

Special rights may be granted to the military for up to three months, but the period may be extended.

Over 4,100 migrants have crossed into Lithuania from Belarus irregularly so far this year, but the flow has decreased considerably after the border guards were allowed to push them back to the neighbouring country.

Lithuania has declared a state-level extreme situation over the unprecedented migration influx which it says is being orchestrated by the Belarusian regime.

Troops are currently helping border guards to control the situation along the border.

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