Lithuania completes construction of 550-kilometer fence covering the border with Belarus

Lithuania has reported that work on the nearly 550-kilometer fence covering the border with Belarus has been completed, at a time when Vilnius has denounced an increase in crossings, allegedly directed by Belarusian President Alxander Lukashenko, in retaliation for European Union sanctions.

“The physical barrier will help border guards counter illegal immigration more effectively,” Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte has defended in a statement. It is a four-meter-high fence topped by barbed wire.

Lithuania has a border of almost 680 kilometers with Belarus, over a hundred of which run along rivers and lakes. Attempts to cross have been increasing in recent months, so much so that record numbers have been reached, with 124 already last week and 125 this Monday.

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These latest figures are reminiscent of those recorded during the height of last year’s migration crisis. The migrants are people whose nationality is from countries in the Middle East, such as Syria or Afghanistan, as well as others from Africa.

Since mid-2021, Lithuania has tightened its migration policies due to the large influx of people who have been trying to cross from Belarus. For the government in Vilnius, Minsk has used migration to put pressure on the European authorities in retaliation for the sanctions imposed on it.

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