Lithuania’s Interior Minister, Agnė Bilotaitė, announced on Monday plans to shut two more border checkpoints with Belarus located in Lavoriškės and Raigardas. This decision aims to reduce smuggling activities and optimize officer deployment at the active checkpoints. This follows Lithuania’s earlier closure of two checkpoints out of six in Šumskas and Tverečius. Bilotaitė, currently in Warsaw for discussions with other Baltic nations and Poland, has expressed collective concerns over a potential regional approach to seal the border with Belarus. This comes amid growing security concerns after reports emerged of around 4,500 Wagner mercenaries moving to Belarus.
During her address in Warsaw, Bilotaitė highlighted the criteria agreed upon by the countries for potential border closure. Firstly, a severe armed incident posing a national security threat, and secondly, an organized mass border breach by irregular migrants. The countries will maintain a vigilant communication line, sharing real-time information on any such incidents and making decisions at the inter-governmental level. While a complete border closure remains on the cards, the ministers in Warsaw consented on certain exceptions. “The mechanism for allowing a humanitarian corridor, primarily for those fleeing Minsk’s oppressive regime, should be universally adopted by all countries,” said Bilotaitė, echoing the appeals of the Belarusian opposition.