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Frontex worries about illegal migration through Belarus

The European border protection agency Frontex, based in Warsaw, is intensifying its cooperation with Lithuania and Latvia in order to better protect the two Baltic states from illegal border crossings from Belarus.

Warsaw - "Dozens of European border guards" and more equipment will be made available for this in July, the newspapers of the  Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) report in their Wednesday editions. The background to this is an increased illegal influx of refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan into the EU and Eurozone member Lithuania. According to Frontex, Lithuania has recorded 400 illegal border crossings from Belarus this month alone.

That is more than five times the total of last year. The constant reserve from Frontex enables it to react quickly to unexpected challenges, the communication goes on to say. The European officials dispatched by Frontex would assist Latvia and Lithuania with border surveillance and other "management functions".

The Lithuanian embassy in Berlin informed the RND that more than 500 illegal migrants have been apprehended at the border since the beginning of the year. In the whole of 2020 there were only 81 and 2019 only 46. "We think Lukashenko wants to destabilize the situation in our country," said Lithuania's envoy in Berlin, Martynas Lukoševièius, reports the RND. "We are doing our best to secure our border, but that does not remain our problem alone, it will also become a problem for the EU. We are the EU's external border." Belarus announced on Monday that it would end its cooperation with the EU in the fight against illegal migration and organized crime.

In the West, this is seen as a reaction to the EU's new, tightened economic sanctions. Lithuania accuses Belarus of deliberately and illegally allowing migrants to cross the border. The Belarusian opposition leader Pawel Latuschka, who lives in exile in Poland, told the RND that Alexander Lukashenko's regime did not ensure that refugees enter Belarus and that they receive a visa immediately upon arrival to be able to illegally cross the border with the help of the Belarusian border control service.

Photo: Photo: Reza Shirmohammadi/DW
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