Estonia to extend defense forces' mission in Lithuania

Lithuanian-Belarusian border.
Lithuanian-Belarusian border. Source: Erik Peinar

Estonia will extend the defense forces' unmanned airborne vehicle team mission in Lithuania until the end of October.

The information gathered by the defense forces improves the Lithuanian authorities' overview of the situation in the border zone, the government said. Estonia's assistance is based on a request by Lithuania.

"Estonia together with other states and allies of the European Union has consistently supported Lithuania in responding to the hybrid attack organized by Lukashenko's regime. We will also stand with Lithuania in the future," Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said.

Currently, a 10-strong Estonian police unit, ESTPOL5, is in Lithuania based on a bilateral agreement. Estonia is also assisting Lithuania through the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) with both equipment and experts.

Additionally, Estonia has sent tents to house migrants and barrier wire for border protection to its Baltic neighbor. So far, the cost has totaled €800,000.

Since the summer, Lithuania has seen thousands of migrants, mostly from Iraq, cross the border from Belarus just weeks after president Alexander Lukashenko threatened to send "migrants and drugs" to Europe.

Officials have said the Minsk regime is responsible for facilitating and enabling irregular migration, calling it "hybrid aggression" against Lithuania.

Migrants have also crossed the Belarusian border into Poland and Latvia.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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