Latvia and Lithuania Move To Stop Migrants Arriving via Belarus
Amid pandemics, the flow of migrants has increased at least four times compared to 2019. However, the spike in refugees at the Baltic states' borders is not natural. Belorussian dictator's airlines brought Iraqis from Baghdad areas to Belorussia. Then he used them as a weapon against the neighbors who support pro-democratic opposition.
Latvia declared a state of emergency along its border on Tuesday and Lithuania decided to erect a fence in new measures to deter migrants they say Belarus is encouraging to cross illegally in order to pressure European states.
Rising numbers of migrants have reached Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, which accuse Belarusian dictator Mr. Alexander Lukashenko of using the issue to press the EU to reverse sanctions.
Poland says Belarus is retaliating against Warsaw’s decision this week to give refuge to Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, a Belarusian athlete who refused to return home from the Tokyo Olympics.
Belarus in May decided to let migrants enter Lithuania in retaliation for EU sanctions imposed after Minsk forced a Ryanair flight to land on its soil and arrested a dissident blogger on board. Mr. Lukashenko said Belarus would not become a “holding site” for migrants from Africa and the Middle East.
On Tuesday, the Latvian government declared a state of emergency in border areas, which allows its military and police to support border guards.
The border guard, armed forces and police will be authorised to instruct illegal immigrants to return to the country they came from, and use physical force if they refuse, the Baltic News Service said.
Some 283 people have been detained for illegally crossing into Latvia from Belarus since Aug. 6, BNS said, bringing the total for the year to 343 people.