Estonia prepared to help ease Lithuania's migration pressure

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Prime ministers Kaja Kallas and Ingrida Šimonyte. Source: Stenbock House.

Estonia is ready to assist Lithuania, which is currently experiencing a surge in migrants crossing the Belarusian border, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said on Friday during a meeting with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonyte.

The prime ministers discussed the defense policy and military cooperation of the Baltic states, as well as the situation in Belarus and on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border.

Kallas was interested in the migration pressure coming from Belarus and confirmed that Estonia would help Lithuania to counter it.

"We see how migration pressure in our region is used as a political tool. Estonia is assisting Lithuania through the European Border and Coast Guard Agency," the prime minister said.

On Friday, the Lithuanian border guard service said it had detained 150 illegal immigrants during the last 24 hours. Those arrested were from Cameroon, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan and most of them applied for asylum in Lithuania.

This year, 822 people have been detained illegally crossing the border from Belarus compared to 81 last year.

Kallas added that all the Baltic states have suspended electricity trade with Belarus already since November last year, and it is important to find an agreement with third countries to resolve electricity trade.

"We need to move according to the agreed schedule in synchronizing our electricity networks with Central Europe in order to complete the project by 2025," the prime minister said.

The prime ministers also talked about security and energy, the COVID-19 crisis, cooperation in the European Union, Russia and Rail Baltic.

Šimonyte, who was on a two-day working visit to Tallinn, said: "I hope that our governments will continue to prioritize the projects of synchronization of the power grid with the European networks, and the Rail Baltica. Transport connections between the Baltic States must meet the nowadays' requirements. We have to complete these strategic projects on time and make them a success story at the European level."

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Editor: Helen Wright

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