Belarusian pro-government media reported that the Lithuanian authorities are responsible for the death of a man who allegedly tried to cross the country’s border illegally. Lithuanians refute the allegations.
The Belarusian border guard informed about the death of a “39-year-old man with a non-Slavic appearance” on the border with Lithuania. According to the announcement, the man was found in serious condition by Belarusian soldiers, but they were unable to save him. The incident was supposed to take place near the town of Bieniakonie (Grodno region).
The Pulse channel in the Telegram communicator, associated with the press service of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, wrote that there was a “murder”, the case is being investigated by the Investigative Committee, and Lukashenka himself is monitoring. The pro-government media blamed the Lithuanian border guards for the death of the Iraqi.
On Wednesday evening, the Belarusian State Border Committee announced in a press release that its officers detained five Iraqis on the border with Lithuania who had “traces of violence with firearms and dog bites” on their bodies. – A border guard patrol in the Lida area detected a group of five Iraqi citizens who were forcibly sent back to Belarus by a neighboring country (Lithuania). Foreigners had traces of violence with firearms and bite marks by service dogs, said a spokesman for the border committee.
Prime Minister Szimonyte’s answer
Representatives of the Lithuanian authorities responded to the allegations made by the Belarusian side regarding the death. – I am not aware of any information about any excesses that would take place in Lithuania or on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border – Prime Minister Ingrida Szimonyte told journalists. She stressed that “Lithuanian officials, while carrying out their duties, respect their and our international obligations as a state”. – The Belarusian government is responsible for what and where has been found on the territory of Belarus – stressed the prime minister.
For its part, the Lithuanian border guard said that it had not received information from the Belarusian side about the incident and that it had learned about it from media reports.
Ministry of the Interior: this is obvious disinformation
In the opinion of Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite, this is disinformation. – This is obvious misinformation. A hybrid attack is being carried out against Lithuania, and the spread of such disinformation is an example of this, Bilotaite told reporters.
Defense Minister Arvydas Anuszauskas described the incident as a provocation. – We do not rule out provocation by the Belarusian regime. In fact, by organizing all this illegal journey (of migrants), involving their officials in this activity, they cannot always control the situation on their own, said the minister.
The influx of illegal migrants
This year, over 4,000 people illegally crossed the border from Belarus to Lithuania, several dozen times more than in the whole of 2020, when only 81 migrants were detained. Most of the detainees are Iraqis. The Lithuanian authorities claim that these are deliberate actions by Belarus.
Due to the increase in illegal migration, the Lithuanian authorities have declared an emergency situation.
On Monday, the head of the Lithuanian Interior Ministry signed an ordinance that allows border guards to return migrants who are trying to get from Belarus to Lithuania in forbidden places. They are to be directed to border crossings or to diplomatic missions.
Main photo source: Karolis Kavolelis / Shutterstock