A growing number of African and Middle Eastern migrants have been illegally entering Lithuania from Belarus. The country says it is finding it hard to cope.
Lithuania and Belarus share a 680-kilometer (423-mile) border. In many places, the two countries are separated merely by low wooden fencing or narrow ditches. Overcoming these obstacles to cross into EU territory is child's play.
Until recently, this was not a serious problem in Lithuania. According to official figures, just 79 people entered the small Baltic state illegally in 2020 — most of them fleeing the authoritarian Lukashenko regime in neighboring Belarus.
So far this year, however, more than 2,500 people from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and several African nations have arrived in Lithuania. Most of them came in the past two months.
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