Tensions between Belarus and Lithuania are continuing to intensify after months of international "pariah" strongman and Putin-ally Alexander Lukashenko being under the international microscope after the opposition charged him with rigging last year's election so he could extend his 20-year rule to a sixth term. He's now standing accused of intentionally sending migrants from abroad across his western border illegally into Lithuania.
NATO Baltic state Lithuania is now vowing to 'build the wall' in order to keep illegals out, complete with ramping up its border guard presence. The accusations are actually going so far as to say Belarus is purposefully allowing migrants to come in from abroad where they are dropped at the border to enter the EU via Lithuania.
According to details cited in Reuters, "Hundreds have been making the crossing in recent days, many of them originating in Turkey, Lithuania said." The row has gotten to the point of Lithuania's foreign ministry summoning Belarus' ambassador to demand an end to the practice.
Lithuania says it has proof of the bizarre scheme: "Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said Belarus had been offering migrants flights to Minsk, citing documents found on at least one migrant who had reached Lithuania," the report notes.
Lukashenko had in late May indicated he would punish his small NATO neighbor by no longer stopping migrants seeking to cross into the EU via Belarus' western border.
PM Simonyte described in a Wednesday news conference that a physical barrier is needed:
"We will begin building an additional physical barrier, which divides Lithuania and Belarus, which would be a certain sign and a certain deterrent to organizers of the illegal migration flows," she told a news conference.
She also said the country, a Schengen free travel area member, was considering imposing border controls with neighbouring EU countries to stop migrants travelling to Western countries in the bloc.
The proposal is to be taken up at a Monday meeting of EU foreign ministers next week.
Recall that under Trump, building border walls was among the greatest of "sins" in the so-called 'international community' of elite European technocrats. And now there's little in the way of gasping over Lithuania "building the wall".
Though there is this hugely ironic line in the Reuters report ...the official cautioned that "the EU is against fences in general" and so Brussels is unlikely to publicly back Lithuania on the border barrier.