2021.11.18 17:52

More migrants pushed to Lithuania's Dieveniškės loop, says border guard chief

BNS2021.11.18 17:52

Belarusian officers have been pushing migrants into Lithuania in the so-called Dieveniškės loop which protrudes into the Belarusian territory, says the State Border Guard Service (VSAT) chief.

“Over the past week, we have seen an increase in the number of cases when Belarusian law enforcement officers forcefully push irregular migrants into the section administered by Gintaras Žagunis Frontier Station,” Rustamas Liubajevas told reporters on Thursday.

Read more: Migration crisis in Baltics and Poland

Over the last 24 hours, 71 people were prevented from entering Lithuania via this section, Liubajevas said.

“We have also seen groups today,” he added. More officers, including military troops, have been deployed to the territory to deal with the situation.

“This frontier station covers a section of more than 100 km. Due to its geographical situation and landscape, violations are taking place almost along the entire section,” Liubajevas said, adding that it was fairly well monitored.

“Yesterday and today almost all irregular migrants who were pushed into Lithuania declared that they did not want to go into Lithuania, that they were taken from the Polish border and forcefully pushed by Belarusian law enforcement institutions,” he said.

Situation calmer bet tense

Liubajevas says the situation is now calm in the places where most border crossings were recorded before. He says he has no information about any Belarusian officers present near the Dieveniškės loop.

In his words, air surveillance images show migrant groups in Belarus, but they are not “very close to the border”.

Summarising the situation at the Lithuanian border over the past week, the VSAT chief said was “calmer, but remains tense”.

Over 4,200 irregular migrants have crossed into Lithuania from Belarus so far this year.

Another 6,969 have been turned away since early August, when border guards were instructed to keep migrants out.

Vilnius and the EU have accused the Minsk regime of orchestrating migrant smuggling, calling it “hybrid aggression”.

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