Lithuania announced a 550-kilometre-long wall on its border with Belarus as the number of immigrants from that country rose sharply.
The Lithuanian armed forces, a member of the European Union and NATO, are already laying barbed wire along the border to discourage migrants from Belarus, mostly from the Middle East and Africa, from crossing the Lithuanian border. The first stage is a barbed wire fence. “In a second stage, we will build a physical barrier of approximately 550 kilometres,” said Lithuanian Interior Minister Agni Belutait.
Tensions between Minsk and Vilnius escalated last year after opponents of Belarus took refuge there.
Lithuanian border guards said on Friday they had collected 37 migrants in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of clandestine migrants since the start of the year to more than 1,500, down from just 81 in all of 2020.
Lithuania, with a population of 2.8 million, has difficulty receiving immigrants. So far, none of them have been returned to Vilnius, although all their asylum applications have been rejected. Last month, the army set up tents to house the migrants.
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