Estonia sending tents, equipment to help Lithuania with migrant pressure

Lithuanian flag.
Lithuanian flag. Source: Martin Dremljuga/ERR

Responding to Lithuania's request for assistance, the Estonian Rescue Board will send ten tents and equipment to Lithuania to help with the country's recent increase in irregular migration.

The Rescue Service will send ten tents with equipment such as air conditioners and furniture. The cost of the equipment to be sent to Lithuania is over €200,000 and it is financed from the humanitarian aid budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Estonia has already sent border guards to help Lithuania protect its border.

"We take the migration pressure that has hit Lithuania extremely seriously. Lithuania is one of the Baltic states and our long-term partner. We are constantly working together, keeping each other informed and assisting Lithuania so that we can successfully deal with the migrant situation," Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani (Center) said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) said: "By helping Lithuania, we stand together for the security and values of all the Baltic states."

She added that member states need to work together to organize the return of illegal immigrants and help Lithuania find a solution to the situation on the ground.

Lithuania submitted a request to the institutions and agencies of the member states of the European Union for the assistance it needs to cope with the migration pressure from Belarus. Help will be sent through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which all 27 EU member states, Iceland, Norway, Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey have signed up to.

The point of the mechanism is that if an emergency situation breaks out in some member state that the state in question cannot deal with on its own, it can ask for and will receive international assistance from other participants in the mechanism. 

To date, Croatia, Finland, Poland, Sweden, Greece and Slovenia have also pledged to provide assistance to Lithuania.

The Lithuanian government has declared a state-level emergency after thousands of migrants from the middle east and Africa entered the country from neighboring Belarus in recent weeks.

A total of 1,676 foreigners have been detained near Lithuania's border with Belarus so far this year, up more than 20 times from last year. Lithuania has built a refugee camp to accommodate the arrivals.

Earlier this year, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said he would no longer stop migrants trying to enter the EU in reaction to Lithuania's strong support for the Belarusian opposition. The Lithuanian government has called the move "hybrid aggression".

An investigation by Lithuania's national broadcaster examines the migrant route from Iraq to Belarus.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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