EU Commissioner Due In Lithuania To Discuss Belarusian Border Crisis.

A senior EU official is due in Lithuania on August 2 to discuss further measures to curb the growing number of people illegally crossing the border from Belarus.

Lithuanian authorities have reported a sharp increase in irregular arrivals in its territory from Belarus in recent months in what is seen as revenge by Minsk after the European Union imposed a new round of sanctions on Alyaksandr Lukashenka's repressive regime.

Lithuania has also become a center for the Belarusian opposition, led by Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, since a disputed presidential election last year.

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson will meet Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte in Vilnius, according to Brussels. She is then due to visit the Padvarionys border crossing point, together with Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite.

Within one day, almost 200 people crossed the border earlier this week, bringing the total number of intercepted migrants this year to 3,500 -- compared to 81 in the whole of last year. Most of them have applied for asylum.

The Baltic country, which shares a nearly 680-kilometer border with Belarus, accuses Minsk of deliberately allowing migrants across its borders.

Lukashenka has repeatedly threatened to allow migrants from war zones such as Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan to cross into the EU in response to sanctions imposed on Minsk following the disputed presidential election in August last year and a subsequent crackdown on those protesting the strongman's claim that he won reelection by a landslide.

Additional border guards from the EU border agency Frontex have already been sent to the country in recent weeks and more are set to follow.

In her talks with Lithuanian lawmakers, Johansson plans to outline more closely the nature of additional EU support.

More EU sanctions on Belarus are also a possibility.

With reporting by dpa

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
La Palma volcano eruptions 'could last for months'

La Palma volcano eruptions 'could last for months'

A volcanic eruption on the island of La Palma forced the evacuation of 6,000 people and unstoppable rivers of molten lava have destroyed around 190 houses and caused significant damage to farmland and infrastructure. The eruption on the island of ...

ABC News Live: US to share additional 500 million vaccine doses with world.

ABC News Live: US to share additional 500 million vaccine doses with world.

Plus, Biden faces bipartisan criticism over the Haitian migrant crisis, and the Gabby Petito case renews calls for help in other missing persons cases.

Clay Travis: Fauci was wrong about this, too

Clay Travis: Fauci was wrong about this, too

OutKick founder Clay Travis blasts Fauci for predicting that outdoor college football games would cause a wave of coronavirus cases #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a...

Rhino horns, Haitians at US border and Ganesh Chaturthi: World in Photos, Sept.

Rhino horns, Haitians at US border and Ganesh Chaturthi: World in Photos, Sept.

A look at the top photos from around the globe.

Reporters file complaint as Biden continues to ignore questions from media.

Reporters file complaint as Biden continues to ignore questions from media.

Reporters at the White House filed the complaint after Joe Biden refused to take questions from the media following his meeting with Boris Johnson. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Ch...

Prime Minister's free trade hopes with U.S. are off the table

Prime Minister's free trade hopes with U.S. are off the table

President Biden has said his administration is not looking at trade talks at the moment. This is a massive blow for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who heavily relied on a US-UK trade deal to boost Britain post Brexit. Sky's political editor, Beth R...