EU's Border Agency To Double Contribution To Lithuania Amid Migrant Influx From Belarus


EU's Border Agency to Double Contribution to Lithuania Amid Migrant Influx From Belarus

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 11th July, 2021) The EU border guard agency Frontex said on Saturday it would double the number of officers it sent to the Lithuanian border with Belarus to protect the EU member state from a surge in illegal immigration.

"The operation, which started with the deployment of a dozen officers and patrol cars, will more than double in size next week," a statement read.

The European Union estimates that the number of illegal border crossings from Belarus into Lithuania rose sixfold in June, increasing the pressure on the Baltic nation's border control authorities.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Twitter after a video chat with Frontex executive Fabrice Leggeri that the agency would also provide helicopters.

Lithuania accused Belarus of pushing hundreds of illegal migrants over the border to get back at the EU for imposing economic sanctions on Minsk. The Belarusian president said his government could not afford beefing up border security.

Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said in an interview to the RT news channel that Belarus did not mind Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte acting on her threat to build a barbwire fence on the border.

"No one is going to protect the West at their own expense," he said, adding that Belarus would rather use the little money it had on its citizens than on border protection.