Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė and Rustam Liubajev, the Commander of the State Border Guard Service, said on November 7 that illegal migration from Kaliningrad might start at some point. Still, they have no plans to build a wall yet. While some call this announcement an attempt to cover up the Minister’s scandal, others say that no wall would help because the current physical barrier on the border with Belarus is poorly constructed, TV3.lt reported.
Was this not an attempt to somehow cover up the scandal of Minister Bilotaitė, which has been shaking Lithuania lately?
No, I don’t think so. We have taken risks and threats on the border with the Russian Federation very seriously. As for the possibility of organising illegal migration or a hybrid attack, in the long term, the Kremlin regime can also use illegal migration to achieve its political goals.
Why do you say that there is no need for a border with Kaliningrad? The Poles need it, but for some reason, Lithuania does not.
The border with the Russian Federation is currently fully equipped with technical measures. In addition, we have a grateful landscape and terrain – the Nemunas River.
Will it not cross the Nemunas?
There may be attempts, but this is a natural obstacle that limits the possibility of organising a mass influx, as, for example, the attempt to break through the Belarusian-Polish border was organised last year.
And how would a reversal across the Nemunas take place? Would they say swim back?
Our officers have conducted an assessment, and several specific locations are currently envisaged where it would be possible to exclude persons from entering the territory of the Republic of Lithuania. There are also land sections.
Like our Polish colleagues, we do not yet see any real threats, but given that there were no systems at the Polish-Russian border and that for many years systems existed on the Russian side, it is fair to say that our Polish colleagues have had a good and quiet life. Now, with the experience that such a hybrid attack could be organised, they have started to set up a system.
But I will say again that this system was not there, and at the moment, our colleagues really need to do a lot to ensure that the border with Russia is secured, at least minimally.
We have built a physical barrier on the border with Belarus, but as we can see, it is somehow not working very well. Dozens of illegal migrants a day are being recorded, and the flow is now decreasing slightly, but it is still high. Why do we have a border and 50 to 60 illegal migrants still cross it?
The flow of illegal migration is not due to our efforts to secure the border but to the Lukashenko regime’s desire to influence our state policy. As a result, the situation on our borders changes dramatically. If we had the highest number of illegal migrants in October, since the end of October, we have already seen an increase in flows at the Polish border. There have also been some in Latvia, where there were none.
But there were dozens, if not hundreds, entering Lithuania every day. How is this possible if a physical barrier has been erected? Sources report that it is poorly constructed and easy to cut. Is this true?
I would disagree. In fact, the physical barrier is not an objective but a means of securing the border. Sometimes we hear that we have to secure the physical barrier. Once again, I want to say that we are protecting the border, not the physical barrier. A barrier is a tool that helps us to secure the border.
But a tool can be more or less effective. So it follows that we have built an ineffective measure.
I would disagree that it is ineffective. The tool is doing its job, and the fact that the physical barrier is broken or that the illegal migrants manage to overcome it, in this case, we have many examples of how a stronger wall or a more robust physical barrier is overcome.