How Lithuania struggles with the number of migrants from Belarus

How Lithuania struggles with the number of migrants from Belarus


Lithuania as a destination or a stop? Migrants in temporary housing near the border with Belarus in July
Photo: Vidmantas Balkunas

Belarusian dictator Lukashenko let hundreds of migrants into Lithuania, the European Union country reaching its borders. Many localities do not want to accommodate people. Border area visit.

NSEi Kapiamistis, a village near the triangle between Lithuania, Poland and Belarus, lies in a dense area in the forest: a post of the Lithuanian border guards. A two-story building, garage and equipment, a radio mast. To its left a row of large tents in olive green color: migrants from Belarus who have been living here for a few weeks, now seventy in number, mainly Iraqis. The border with Belarus is only a few hundred meters away, and a crisis has been developing for several weeks at this outer EU border, bringing Lithuania to its borders.

Gerhard Gnouk

Political correspondent for Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania based in Warsaw.

“The worst-case scenario will be 40,000 migrants,” says Rustamas Liubajevas, the head of the Lithuanian border guard. “We have to be ready for that.” His agency is currently planning to purchase ten thousand residential containers to accommodate all those coming to Lithuania. This alone could cost the country with its three million inhabitants around 200 million euros.

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