Slovakia will provide Lithuania with a detachable barrier in order to help protect the external Schengen borders.
This decision was confirmed by the Slovak Interior Ministry and comes after a meeting during which the security barrier donation agreement was signed by Slovak Interior Minister Roman Mikulic and Lithuanian Interior Minister, Agne Belutaiti, reports Vilnius and TheSchengen.com.
“It is unacceptable for Belarus to play with people’s lives for political reasons. Minister Mikulik noted in this regard that the handover of this barrier confirms our commitment to participate in the fight against the hybrid attack, which must be vigorously suppressed.
The Slovak minister stressed that he supports Lithuania, as well as other Baltic countries affected by the situation, which, according to her, is caused by the authorities in Belarus.
“Our country stands by its partners in the European Union, and we are ready to respond immediately and help within our means and capabilities,” he said.
The common border between Lithuania and Belarus has seen an influx of illegal immigrants who are constantly trying to reach European countries through this route.
According to the Slovak Interior Ministry, the number of illegal immigrants who crossed this border illegally has increased by 18 times, while since the beginning of the year, Lithuania identified 4,282 immigrants on its territory, based on data provided by the Lithuanian and Polish security services.
According to the same source, there may be up to 15,000 illegal immigrants in Belarus, while only a few were able to return or decided to return voluntarily.
Lithuania has received a large number of immigrants from Afghanistan, the Middle East and the African continent seeking to enter Lithuania illegally across the border with Belarus.
Due to the increase in the number of migrants that Lithuania is currently facing, it recently decided to extend the state of emergency at the border with Belarus until January 15. This decision was confirmed by the Lithuanian Parliament.
This situation prompted the authorities in Lithuania to ask for help in order to protect the external Schengen border with Belarus. In addition, in order to stop illegal crossings, the Baltic state has begun the construction of a physical barrier, the completion of which is scheduled for next year.
Slovakia and Lithuania will assist in this effort by donating a detachable barrier that is currently stored at the HaZZ Rescue Brigade headquarters in Malaki. It is stored in 25 shipping containers and can secure a border of 6.6 km in length. “The exact place and time of the transfer will be agreed upon, with the relevant costs borne by the Lithuanian side,” said the statement published by the Slovak Interior Ministry.
European Union foreign ministers recently accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of exploiting migrants. In addition, the ministers also announced that they plan to expand sanctions against Belarus in order to prevent such a thing from happening.