VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuania declared greater than a thousand residents of Russia and Belarus dwelling within the nation to be threats to nationwide safety on Friday and stated it was stripping them of their everlasting residency permits.
The choice comes after the federal government requested the Russians and Belarusians to reply a questionnaire that included questions on their views on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the standing of Crimea, the Ukrainian territory which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.
Lithuania, a Baltic nation that declared its independence from the Soviet Union greater than 30 years in the past, is a democracy that belongs to NATO and the European Union. It has been a powerful backer of Ukraine and in addition a spot of refuge in recent times for a lot of who’ve fled an authoritarian crackdown in neighboring Belarus and elevated repression in Russia.
The Migration Division stated Friday that it had established that 1,164 Belarusian and Russian residents residing in Lithuania posed a menace to nationwide safety, a call that was based mostly on an analysis of public and private info. It stated 910 of these had been Belarusian residents and 254 Russian residents.
How individuals answered the questionnaire was considered in deciding whether or not to grant or deny residence, in keeping with the Migration Division, the federal government workplace that carried out the survey.
These deemed to be nationwide safety threats are solely a fraction of the Belarusians and Russians dwelling in Lithuania. In response to the Migration Division, greater than 58,000 Belarusian residents and 16,000 Russian residents are at the moment residing in Lithuania. They’re required to resume their residence permits yearly to 3 years, relying on the applying standing.
These stripped of permits can enchantment the choice in courtroom. Others can have as much as a month to depart the nation, in keeping with the Migration Division.
There was no quick response from the Russian or Belarusian governments.
Viktor Voroncov, a businessman who moved from Russia a number of years in the past, discovered Lithuanian and obtained citizenship, stated he agreed with the transfer.
“I do know many Russians who served within the Soviet and later in Putin’s military. They’re married to Lithuanian wives, they reside right here, keep shut contacts with comrades in arms again in Russia and are spreading Kremlin propaganda continuously,” Voroncov stated.
“Lithuania is a democratic nation and tolerates totally different views. Even their propaganda was OK till the warfare began, however issues have modified they usually should go,” he stated.
Lithuania additionally has an ethnic Russian minority that makes up about 5% of the inhabitants. They’re residents of Lithuania and weren’t required to reply the questionnaire.