Poland sends humanitarian aid to Lithuania to tackle migration crisis
The V4 country intends to help the Baltic state cope with the migration crisis unfolding on the Lithuania-Belarus border.
Poland is sending humanitarian convoys to Lithuania to help manage the migration crisis caused by the influx of illegal arrivals crossing the border from Belarus, the Warsaw Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Polska 🇵🇱 wysyła pomoc humanitarną na Litwę 🇱🇹 w związku z kryzysem migracyjnym na granicy litewsko – białoruskiej.
— Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych RP 🇵🇱 (@MSZ_RP) July 21, 2021
Poland’s Government Agency for Strategic Reserves (RARS) is sending Vilnius tents, power generators, blankets and cots worth about 760 thousand zloties (some 160 thousand euros). The Polish Ministry of National Defence is delivering another consignment with similar items. The migration crisis Lithuania is facing has become so severe that it is causing problems not only for Lithuania but also for the European Union as a whole, the statement quotes Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau as saying. Nearly 1,800 migrants have crossed the Belarusian-Lithuanian border illegally since the beginning of the year, coming primarily from Iraq, Syria, Tajikistan and Russia, the foreign ministry said, citing data from the data from the Lithuanian border guard. This is more than twenty-four times the number of border crossings recorded in the whole last year. Lithuania was logistically unprepared to receive this amount of migrants. The ministry says the migration crisis has been created “artificially and deliberately.”
Warsaw expressed solidarity with Lithuania, and called on all EU member states to support Vilnius in defending the EU’s external border. At a meeting in Komarom on Monday, the foreign ministers of the Visegrad 4 (V4) bloc agreed to provide coordinated assistance to Lithuania.
Earlier, EU representatives accused the Belarusian authorities of deliberately allowing illegal migrants into Lithuania. Vilnius has accused Minsk of using direct flights from Baghdad and Istanbul to bring in migrants, mostly from Iraq, and allowing them into the EU illegally. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) will reinforce the protection of the Lithuanian-Belarusian border with 60 border guards from next week, while Lithuania has started to build a fence on its border in early July.