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European country accuses neighbor of flying in illegal migrants, plans to build barrier on border

Kendall Tietz, DCNF

Lithuania announced plans to build a barrier on the Belarus border and deploy troops to prevent migrants from crossing into the country, the BBC reported Wednesday.

Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said over 1,000 migrants had been detained after crossing the border since June 1, according to the BBC. In contrast, Lithuanian border guards said they only detained 81 illegal migrants crossing into its southern border in all of 2020.

“An additional physical barrier” will be built on the border with Belarus, Simonyte said at a news briefing Wednesday, BBC News reported, as “a certain sign and a certain deterrent to organizers of the illegal migration flows.”

Simonyte also said the country’s armed forces will be used to supplement officers currently at the border.

Lithuania, an EU member, has accused Belarus of flying foreign migrants into the country, the BBC reported. Tensions have been on the rise between the EU and Belarus since a plane on its way to Lithuania was diverted to Minsk while flying over Belarusian airspace in May and an opposition journalist and his girlfriend on board were arrested.

The EU has previously sent guards from the border agency Frontex to Lithuania’s border to mitigate the growing crisis, BBC reported.

“If some think that we will close our borders with Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine and become a camp for people fleeing Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Tunisia,” Belarus’ Prime Minister Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday, the BBC reported.

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