At the Foreign Ministers’ meeting, Lithuania called for additional sanctions against Belarus and accused the country of putting pressure on the EU through migrants.
Lithuania foreign minister Gabriel Landsbergis accused Belarus on Monday of using migrants as a political weapon to put pressure on the EU.
Belarus began letting newcomers into the EU border with Lithuania after the EU had adopted additional sanctions against Belarus in June.
According to Landsbergis, who attended the EU Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the EU should continue to consider new sanctions.
“We need to be very strict about governments that use weapons like this, and primarily respond with sanctions,” Landsbergis told news agency Reuters.
Also the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said on Monday that the EU should consider extending sanctions.
The sanctions were based on an opposition activist and a journalist Raman Pratasevich arrest in May. Pratasevich was arrested after Ryanair’s plane on its way from Athens to Vilnius was forced to land in Minsk for Belarus.
Finland foreign minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) attended a meeting of foreign ministers on Monday, at which Lithuania spoke in more detail at the previous meeting of the three Baltic countries and the three Nordic countries.
“The situation at the border is increasingly turbulent,” Haavisto says.
According to him, it does not seem that Belarus is willing to have a debate on the organization of elections and the future of the country.
According to Haavisto, the Lithuanian Foreign Minister thanked Finland and Greece in particular for the fact that the countries had reacted quickly to the need for border control in Lithuania and participated, among other things, by sending border guards.
“The Minister pointed out that they will probably need to build a fence on the border, which of course will not ultimately deter a tenacious border crosser. But there are a lot of areas where the border is not marked even on the fence at the moment, it has been very easy to cross the border, ”Haavisto said.
Haaviston according to the Lithuanian Foreign Minister had expressed his view that package trips from Baghdad and Istanbul are being organized to Minsk, Belarus.
“It’s a very professional route right now.”
The foreign minister had also warned that Belarus is known to have about 20,000 students from countries in Africa, among others.
“In this corona situation, their study opportunities may not have been guaranteed, and those who were studying in Belarus have now also come to the Lithuanian side across the border.”
After Lithuania has come from Belarus this year nearly 1,700 migrants, a thousand of whom arrived during June. Half of them have said they are Iraqi citizens.
The EU’s border security agency Frontex said on Monday that it would send more border guards, patrol cars and experts to Lithuania to assist. One task is to interview those crossing the border illegally and gather information on how the crossings are organized.
Director General of Frontex Fabrice Leggeri Frontex also said that Frontex was preparing to return from Lithuania those immigrants who were not granted asylum by Lithuania.