The signs of the Republic of Lithuania and Kapciamiestis village are seen on the border with Belarus, in Kapciamiestis, Lithuania on November 9, 2021. VILNIUS, Nov 26 Reuters - Lithuania may close border crossing points with Belarus if migrants continue to be smuggled into its territory on trucks, Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite said on Friday.
We have increased the checks on vehicles crossing into Lithuania. She said that if we see this trend increasing, we will be very seriously considering closing border crossing points with Belarus.
Four Iraqi migrants were found hiding in a convoy of peat in a Belarusian-registered truck at the Medininkai crossing on Thursday afternoon. The Lithuanian border guard said Belarus had refused to take them back.
The European Union accused Belarus of flying thousands of people from the Middle East and forcing them to cross into the bloc in response to the EU sanctions imposed over President Alexander Lukashenko's crushing of protests against his disputed re-election last year. Belarus denies this.
Lukashenko told migrants near the border with Poland that Belarus would help them return home if they wanted to, but would not force them.
Bilotaite said there could be up to 15,000 migrants in Belarus trying to find a way into the European Union, including up to 2,000 at the Lithuanian border.
Bilotaite said that until they are returned home, we cannot be calm. Lukashenko is unpredictable, so we must be prepared for all outcomes, because we can expect anything from him.