Lithuania plans to install surveillance cameras along the entire length of its border with Belarus, Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said on January 28 while touring a stretch of the border and a border station.
The border, which stretches about 680 kilometers and is also the EU’s border with Belarus, has been the scene of a crisis involving mostly Middle Eastern migrants that the EU said Belarus intentionally allowed in with a promise that they would then be allowed to travel on to the EU.
Simonyte visited a checkpoint along the border, the prime minister’s press service said.
The prime minister was briefed by the Border Guard Service (SBGS) and by representatives of the company building a razor-wire barrier along the border. About half of the border structure is already fitted with cameras.
“It is very important that cameras will be fixed along the entire border still this year,” Simonyte said.
The barrier has already been built in the most sensitive and migrant flow-vulnerable sections, the prime minister’s press service said. The length of the razor-wire barrier is now about 200 kilometers and construction continues. A 4-meter-high fence topped with razor-wire is being installed in addition to the razor-wire barrier.
The prime minister’s visit to the border came months after the EU accused Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka's regime of funneling migrants to the borders of Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania.
The EU said late last year it was part of a “hybrid attack” to retaliate for Western sanctions that were imposed following Lukashenka's crackdown on people protesting his reelection in a controversial vote in August 2020.
Belarus has denied the claim and criticized the EU for not taking in the migrants.
The rush of migrants created a humanitarian crisis as they were blocked from crossing the border while at the same time they were prevented by Belarusian forces from turning back.
Some of the migrants trying to cross into Poland retreated into a forest and were reportedly stranded in freezing winter weather. Medical aid organizations said they were denied access to them even amid reports that some had died.
Poland has also taken steps in response to the migrant crisis, including building a razor-wire fence and massing thousands of soldiers along its 400-kilometer border with Belarus.