Lithuania says Belarus officers illegally pushed migrants over border
Lithuania’s border service has accused 12 Belarusian officers donning riot gear of illegally entering into its territory to push a group of migrants over the border. During the tense incident, Lithuania’s officers stated that they repeatedly informed the Belarusians that they were violating border laws. The incident occurred on Tuesday and has since been disputed by Belarusian officials, who instead accused Lithuanian guards of violence towards migrants. The EU is planning to meet later to discuss a recent migrant influx from Belarus. According to official reports, more than 4,100 migrants have entered Lithuania illegally from Belarus this year. Most of the migrants have been of Iraqi nationality.
The rise in illegal crossings began after the EU imposed strict sanctions on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. The sanctions were a response to Lukashenko’s crackdown on protestors and arrest of a journalist while onboard a Ryanair flight in June. Lithuania has also accused Belarus of flying in migrants from the Middle East to send across the border. Belarus has denied these claims.