The North Atlantic Council, NATO political decision-making body, has reacted Wednesday to the flows of illegal migrants from belarus. The Alliance decided to send a team to Lithuania to combat hybrid threats on the border.
The Lithuanian ministries of defence and foreign affairs announced that the situation with the illegal migrants from Belarus becomes alarming. In other words, Lithuania is facing is not a migration crisis, the military official said.
Commenting on the crisis, Gabrielius Landsbergis, the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, confirmed that “This is a well-organised, cynical, hybrid operation that Lukashenka is carrying out in retaliation for Lithuania’s support for Belarusians fighting for the democratic future of their country,” said Landsbergis.
The top Lithuanian diplomat also thanked allies for their political support, solidarity and practical support in the fight against unprecedented migratory flows to Lithuania across the Belarusian border.
Lithuania waits for the NATO troops
According to Arvydas Anušauskas, the Lithuanian Minister of Defense, the arrival of the NATO team is important not only in solving problems caused by hybrid aggression. However, it demonstrates that Lithuanians aren’t alone in their fight. “We have allies with whom we work closely, and we can rely on them in critical situations,” Anušauskas said, welcoming the arrival of NATO troops in early September.
Mr Anušauskas reiterated that “the launch of the team for combating hybrid threats shows that the allies are responsibly assessing the geopolitical context of Lithuania and are preparing for a possible incident.”
Since May, the problem of illegal migration from Belarus to Lithuania has intensified. The total number of people who illegally crossed the Lithuanian-Belarusian border this year is almost 4,200 compared to 81 detained migrants in 2020.
On Tuesday alone, border guards turned back two illegal migrants. For several weeks now, the Lithuanian authorities have been “returning migrants”. It is estimated that more than 1,500 people have not been admitted to the country, PolandIn reports.