Estonia to send Lithuania 100 kilometers of barbed wire

Lithuanian border guards setting up a barbed wire fence.
Lithuanian border guards setting up a barbed wire fence. Source: LRT.lt

The Ministry of Defense pledges three drone teams and 100 kilometers of barbed wire to help Lithuania cope with a wave of migrants from Belarus.

"Lithuania is a close ally and it is our task to help them without delay in this crisis," Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet (Reform) said after conversing with his Lithuanian colleague Agne Bilotaite on Friday.

Laanet said that the Defense Forces (EDF) will initially give Lithuania 100 kilometers of barbed wire so the country can step up efforts to secure its border. "We also stand ready to dispatch three unmanned aerial vehicle teams to Lithuania to improve awareness on the border," the minister added.

The aid follows a request from Lithuania and is offered for free. The Estonian Defense Forces Support Command will send the barbed wire shipment to Lithuania immediately, the ministry press service said on Saturday.

Lithuania said on Friday that it does not have enough barbed wire for a fence on the border with Belarus. The country has used all of its army surplus and is expecting shipments from neighbors, the Lithuanian defense minister wrote on social media. The fence is meant to cover a section of the border 550 kilometers long.

Laanet and Bilotaite discussed the situation on the Lithuania-Belarus border on Friday and ways Estonia could help its Baltic neighbor. The ministers found that the situation goes beyond an ordinary migration crisis. Bilotaite described it as a hybrid attack on Lithuania, the EU and its values aimed at destabilizing Lithuania and the entire region, the defense ministry press service said.

Laanet emphasized that the situation is made more serious for Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland by the Zapad 2021 major training exercise gearing up in Russia and Belarus the main activities of which concentrate on the Baltic region.

The ministers said it is a fact the wave of migrants is an organized effort by states for which concrete proof exists – companies facilitating migration and persons with ties to them are known and should be hit with EU sanctions.

Lithuania has seen 2,453 migrants in the last month, which is 33 times the number of migrants it received the same time last year and an increase of 66 times compared to 2019.

The EDF dispatched a convoy with everything required to erect an encampment worth over €200,000 on Wednesday. The shipment is funded from the foreign ministry's humanitarian aid budget.

Ten members of Estonian border guard unit ESTPOL5 started work in and around the city of Druskininkai in early July.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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