2021.11.24 09:22

Up to 2,000 troops guard Lithuania's border – defence chief

BNS2021.11.24 09:22

Between 1,000 and 2,000 soldiers regularly assist Lithuanian border guards patrolling the country's border with Belarus, says the chief of defence. More can be deployed, if the situation requires it.

“A total of 9,000 have been involved since June 11, but around 1,000-2,000 assist regularly,” Lieutenant General Valdemaras Rupšys told reporters on Tuesday. “Of course, it's not the limit, and if the situation demands and we are asked to help, we will do that.”

Read more: Migration crisis in Baltics and Poland

The Lithuanian parliament has recently extended the mandate for the army to act near the border with Belarus until the middle of February. Troops are now helping border guards to stop irregular migrants from crossing into the country from Belarus.

Over 4,200 people, mostly from the Middle East, have crossed into Lithuania from Belarus this year. Over 7,000 more have been kept out since Lithuania started pushing them back.

Vilnius and the EU accuse the Minsk government of orchestrating migrant smuggling, calling it “hybrid aggression”.

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