Lithuania’s state of emergency on the Belarus border will expire today. The state of emergency, declared on the 10th of
Lithuania’s state of emergency on the Belarus border will expire today.
The state of emergency, declared on the 10th of November, permitted border guards to forcefully prevent border crossings and ban travel within 10km.
Lithuania enacted the measure in response to a large number of migrants crossing into the EU from Belarus, allegedly aided by its government in retaliation to sanctions. While approximately 4,200 people crossed the border to seek asylum, the number of crossings has declined, leading to today’s expiration.
It is highly likely that the state of emergency will be reinstated should the number of border crossings increase. This risk remains as long as there are a larger number of migrants in the region.
In the short to medium-term, it is likely that Belarus will further encourage crossings into Lithuania in response to potential future sanctions. The migrant crisis in the border region is thus unlikely to be solved in the foreseeable future. In the long-term, relations between Lithuania and Belarus will suffer as both nations find themselves increasingly at odds. While Lithuania wishes for a permanent end to large inflows of migrants, Belarus is unlikely to cooperate unless, in the unlikely event that, EU sanctions are lifted.
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