One group of migrants is currently stuck on the Belarusian side of the Lithuanian border, Antanas Montvydas, deputy chief of the State Border Guard Service (VSAT), said on Wednesday.
“We have no outposts in that location but the said persons do not cross into Lithuania. We provide them with food and water and offer to enter our territory but they are waiting for a decision from Belarus authorities and the Belarusians do not let them go further into the country’s territory,” he told members of the parliamentary Committee on Human Rights on Wednesday.
The group included adult citizens of Somalia – two men and seven women, he added.
VSAT spokesman Giedrius Misutis told BNS that those people had been there for less than a week.
“They have been staying there since the end of last week, but not yet a full week,” he said.
Deputy Interior Minister Arnoldas Abramavičius told the committee that, despite the push-back policy adopted by Lithuania, vulnerable people were allowed to enter the country.
Approximately 80 migrants had been allowed to cross into Lithuania since early August when the country adopted the pushback policy, he said.
This includes “some 13 Belarusian citizens, I think, minors, women”, he said.
“These 80 [migrants] probably include 25 adult men or non-Belarusians. The humanitarian corridor is functioning, it is wrong to say that we are not letting anyone in,” the deputy minister added.
Montvydas said those admitted to the country on humanitarian grounds included minors, the disabled, pregnant women, single parents, seniors and other vulnerable people.
Approximately 2,200 migrants had not been allowed to enter the country since early August, he said.
Lithuania has made arrangements for migrants to file asylum applications at the country’s border checkpoints, but not a single person has used this route, according to Montvydas.
“Belarusian authorities or border services simply do not let them pass through border checkpoints. Firstly, they need to have identity documents and secondly, the regime would then show that it is responsible for irregular migration,” Abramavičius said.
Over 4,100 migrants, mainly Iraqis, have crossed irregularly into Lithuania from Belarus so far this year. According to the data from the Migration Department, more than 100 irregular migrants have already been sent back to their countries of origin.
Lithuania has declared a state-level extreme situation over the unprecedented migration influx which it says is being orchestrated by the Belarusian regime.