Lithuania Concludes Its Subject To “Hybrid Aggression”, Deploys Military To Protect Its Border
On July 13th, the Lithuanian parliament adopted a resolution calling the recent spike in irregular migration via Belarus “hybrid aggression”.
The document states that the organised movement of migrants is aimed at destabilising the situation in Lithuania.
According to the ruling conservative Homeland Union (TS-LKD), the resolution was initiated by the ruling majority in the parliament in cooperation with leaders of the majority of opposition groups and was backed by 56 lawmakers, with two votes against and 24 abstentions.
The adopted resolution states that “countries hostile towards Lithuania are carrying out hybrid aggression against the Republic of Lithuania” by organizing irregular migration.
It also expressed concern that “this hybrid aggression can be further developed and exploited and can even be used as a basis for threats of new nature in the context of the large-scale military exercise Zapad”, due to be held in Russia and Belarus in the autumn.
As a result, the Lithuanian government calls on the border to be reinforced and the Lithuanian military assist the border guard in protecting against this sort of “hybrid aggression”.
This comes alongside the construction of a “physical barrier” (read here border fence or wall) as soon as possible.
The document also calls for measures to ensure that the organizers of migration, including natural and legal persons in Belarus, are held accountable and placed under national and EU sanctions.
The resolution also proposed treating foreign nationals who cross the Lithuanian border without ID documents – excluding women with children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and those under 16 – as possible active participants of the ongoing hybrid attack.
Therefore, they should be subject to different detention and accommodations conditions.
A total of 1,676 foreigners have been detained near Lithuania’s border with Belarus so far this year, up more than 20 times from last year.
Additionally, the resolution proposed launching an information campaign in the migrants’ countries of origin and also ensuring their return.
If this doesn’t work, the resolution calls for the launch of consultations with NATO member countries.
The resolution simply made official something that Lithuanian prime minister Ingrida Šimonytė said on July 7th.
According to her, Lithuania is currently experiencing an unprecedented increase in irregular migration. Lithuanian officials believe that Belarusian authorities are involved in migrant smuggling.
“We see the whole process as a hybrid aggression against not Lithuania, but the entire European Union,” she said. “It is [a response to] a principled stance of the entire EU, including Lithuania, regarding the results of rigged elections [in Belarus], repressions against the civil society and human rights activists.”
Šimonytė noted that “institutions of the Belarusian regime participate in the organisation of flows of illegal migrants both actively and passively”.
“Border crossing is being facilitated deliberately and the purpose of this, in our view, is to harm our country, to destabilize the situation, among other things,” she said.
Lithuania is mobilizing the military to assist the border guards and handle the situation, Šimonytė said.
“Also, we will start installing an additional physical barrier between Lithuania and Belarus, which would at the same time act as a sign and a deterrent for those organizing the flows of illegal migrants,” the prime minister said.
As can be seen, the resolution was simply an official document to testify that the actions had already been undertaken.