After LRT journalists reported about a group of migrants with children found in a forest near the border with Belarus, Deputy Interior Minister Kęstutis Lančinskas said a “further investigation” was needed into how the media received information on their whereabouts before the border guards.
On Monday, LRT reporters saw a group of 13 people, which included women and children. They claimed to have come from Afghanistan and that they crossed the border irregularly from Belarus.
They also said that they could not reach the border guards to ask for asylum due to the difficult terrain, and some were also too sick to walk.
According to the deputy interior minister, it has become a “tendency” that coordinates of some migrants who enter Lithuania are passed on to the media or NGOs, instead of the authorities.
“A very interesting trend is that journalists or NGOs are first to receive coordinates of groups of people who crossed into the Lithuanian territory,” Lančinskas told LRT RADIO. “The border guards find out the whereabouts of migrants from the media or NGOs.”
“This is an interesting trend that requires further investigation,” he said without disclosing more details.
As of Tuesday, eleven migrants from the group were undergoing identity checks in the premises of the Lithuanian Border Guard Service (VSAT). “As far as I know, the necessary medical care was provided to these migrants. The procedure for identifying them and their origin is underway,” Lančinskas added.
Among them is a small girl, several teenagers, and a pregnant woman. Two people from the group were not allowed to enter Lithuania, the border guards said.
Lithuania has been pushing irregular migrants back to Belarus since early August when the country declared an emergency situation due to the migration crisis, which Vilnius and EU officials say was orchestrated by the Minsk regime.