Lithuania accuses Belarus of violating its airspace

DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

A Belarusian diplomat was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and asked to provide an explanation and take steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future, the ministry said in a press release.

The incident was registered at around 10:30 AM on Thursday.

Airspace surveillance services recorded that an aircraft of an unidentified type from Belarus twice violated Lithuania’s airspace at the Lazdijai district municipality at 10:37 AM on Thursday and the violation continued until 10:47 AM, the ministry said.

The Foreign Ministry handed a note to Belarus’ chargé d’affaires Lyudmila Tatarinovich over the incident.

NATO fighter jets carrying out the air-policing mission in Šiauliai were not scrambled to intercept the plane, Asta Galdikaitė, spokeswoman for the Ministry of National Defence said.

An investigation of the incident is underway and no further details are being released, she said.

Regular violations by drones

Lithuania’s airspace is often violated by drones from the Belarusian territory operated by, for instance, smugglers, says Artūras Paulauskas, chairman of the parliamentary National Security and Defence Committee.

In his words, Friday’s case is unusual, because border guards did not physically see the airplane, which makes it impossible for Lithuania to identify the aircraft.

“Quite a few violations are recorded, only that this time it was only registered by a radar, border guards were dispatched but did not see anything. Therefore, it is very hard to tell what aircraft it was,” Paulauskas told BNS.

“We record very many incidents when the border is crossed by drones flown by some smugglers. This is almost a daily occurrence,” he added.

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