A Lithuanian MP has told Breitbart News that her country will stand firm in protecting the “border of democracy” as Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko continues to attempt to weaponise illegal migration against the European Union.
This week, the parliament in Lithuania declared a “state-level extreme situation” in regards to the growing migrant crisis, in which some 4,000 illegal aliens — mostly from Iraq — have crossed the border between Belarus and the small EU member-state.
The Lukashenko regime has been accused of actively facilitating migrants from Africa and the Middle East crossing the border, with many seeing it as a response to the EU sanctions imposed on the former Soviet bloc nation in June.
In response, the Lithuanian parliament voted in favour of erecting a border fence with Belarus this week.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart London, Lithuanian MP Dovilė Šakalienė said: “We are not living in one big state, there are states and there are borders.”
“We have to protect ourselves because this is the border of democracy. Our eastern border is the end of the EU and the end of democracy,” she said.
Šakalienė said that the scale of illegal migration into Lithuania, which has increased fifty-fold over 2020, with some 4,000 illegal migrants crossing the border, demonstrates that “this is not a natural migration”.
“Through surveillance, we see that the Belarusian border force is actively assisting migrants to come to the Lithuanian border,” she said, backing up claims from the European Union’s border agency, Frontex, which claimed to have drone footage proving Lukashenko’s regime has been facilitating the illegal crossings of the border.
Poland, another EU member-state bordering Lithuania and Belarus, has also seen record border crossings from the latter in recent days, mostly of Afghans and Iraqis.
As @BorisJohnson and @PritiPatel book migrants plush hotels, Lithuania is responding to a rush of African and Middle Eastern migrants coming from Belarus by housing them the in army tents https://t.co/xPGmKcALgh
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 7, 2021
Following the sanctions imposed on Belarus by the European Union after Minsk used a warplane to force a Ryanair flight to Lithuania to land in the country to arrest a prominent critic of the government, the Lukashenko regime has been accused of flying in migrants from Iraq in order to flood the border.
Šakalienė said that “so-called tourism agencies” in Iraq have been advertising “European excursions” for thousands of dollars per migrant, promoting the “lie” from Lukashenko that there is no border between Belarus and Lithuania.
“When these people come, they are in a mousetrap because of course our border is secure and they cannot pass. It’s easier for migrants to understand what’s going on if there is a border fence, that it was deceit, they were defrauded by Lukashenko’s regime that there are no walls and that they can enter the European Union.”
“It is a very clear message, this is not an open border,” she added.
EU Commissioner Accuses Belarus of Using Migrants to Blackmail Europe https://t.co/AmLu6csmqB
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 15, 2021
Amid pressure from Brussels and Lithuania’s tough border crackdown, the government of Iraq has suspended flights to Belarus and has even sent planes to pick up the stranded migrants and return them home.
“Iraq is going to be getting back a lot of unhappy people, who have been robbed of their money, I don’t think they will feel happy about being used as a tool of the Lukanhesko regime,” Šakalienė said.
“Of course I would like to help every economic migrant but we can’t, we are too small of a country and if you want to go to Germany — and most of them do want to go there — Lithuania is not a migration route.
“People can apply for asylum in border posts or simply email our migration department, because they are in a safe country, they’ve got visas and got plane tickets for Belarus on their own accord.”
The MP said that she has long favoured a border wall with Belarus, as it would serve to prevent any mistaken territorial conflicts with the Belarusian military.
“I have been for the wall before the migrant situation began, because Belarus is not a democratic state, we have a dictator beyond our walls and who knows what else he could do,” she said.
“In several weeks [Lukashenko’s] military training exercises are starting, meaning tens of thousands of Belarusian and Russian soldiers next to our border… so migrants is just one part of the problem,” Šakalienė added.
The Lithuanian MP said that going forward her country will be looking to partner with the EU on further sanctions on Belarus, including on potash supplies, which almost all flow through Lithuania’s Baltic port of Klaipeda.
Potash is a key ingredient in the production of potassium fertiliser, which alongside oil is a key export for Belarus, which accounts for about twenty per cent of the global supply.
Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite has ordered border guards to repel, with force if needed, illegal migrants as the European Union border agency has claimed Belarus is helping illegals cross the EU border. https://t.co/v1hqJxGmui
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) August 6, 2021
Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka