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2021.11.26 09:58

Frontex will stay in Lithuania after current mission ends – border chief

BNS, LRT.lt2021.11.26 09:58

Frontex will continue protecting Lithuania's border with Belarus as its Rapid Border Intervention operation is set to expire next week, according to Rustamas Liubajevas, commander of Lithuania's State Border Guard Service (VSAT).

"We have in essence agreed with the Frontex director and the agency itself on the extension of the operation but under a different format,” he told BNS. “That would be the context of a normal operation, such operations are organized at the EU's almost all borders."

The intensity of the new operation "will be slightly lower" compared to the Rapid Border Intervention that is set to expire on Tuesday, Liubajevas added.

"There will be no gap between those two operations" as forces will rotate in Lithuania, he said.

Read more: Frontex ‘sees no need’ to terminate operation in Lithuania, says border guard chief

"We will have a schedule to ensure a gradual exit and entry to ensure there's no gap between the missions," Liubajevas said.

In October, Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri said there were “serious incident reports with a suspicion of the violation of fundamental rights in Lithuania”.

Vilnius officials then said Frontex was not considering withdrawing from the country. The EU’s border protection agency previously withdrew from Hungary over human rights violations.

The ongoing Frontex-coordinated operation in Lithuania involved over 100 border guards, the VSAT chief said. Moreover, some 50 officers, including from Poland and Estonia , have helped to protect the border under bilateral agreements with Lithuania.

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