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Lithuania erects border fence against illegal immigrants

Vilnius - The Lithuanian parliament has decided to erect a border fence with neighboring Belarus to stop the flow of migrants from there. The AFP news agency reported that the costs for the new border facility will amount to around 150 million euros.

In the past few weeks, Belarus's ruler, Alexander Lukashenko, had brought migrants to his country from Iraq, among other places, and directed them to the EU in a targeted manner. In doing so, he was reacting to the European Union's sanctions against his regime.

According to this, more than 4,000 illegal immigrants from Belarus came to Lithuania this year. Around 2,800 of them come from Iraq. In the previous year there had been only 81 illegal entries across the Belarusian-Lithuanian border.

Latvia declares a state of emergency over migrants
The relationship between Lithuania and Belarus is tense. Sections of the Belarusian opposition have found refuge in the Baltic country. The EU member Lithuania is considered a great supporter of the democracy movement, which wants to end the rule of Lukashenko.

Meanwhile, neighboring Latvia declared a state of emergency in its regions bordering Belarus. This allows the security forces to use violence to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the country. In addition, the border guards are not obliged to accept asylum applications.

Last week Lukashenko decided again to close the southern and western borders of Belarus. In this way he prevented migrants who had been rejected by Lithuania from returning. Because of the tense situation in the Baltic States, the EU interior ministers want to consult in the coming week.

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