A month-long state of emergency – what will change?

Quick government decisions

The introduction of a state of emergency has been discussed before, but after Monday’s events in Belarus, when a column of thousands of migrants moved to the border with Poland and tried to break into the country, the Lithuanian authorities moved extremely fast.

On Monday afternoon, the Minister of the Interior Agnė Bilotaitė spoke about the proposal to declare a state of emergency at the border, and on Tuesday morning the Government and the Seimas approved the proposal. President Gitanas Nausėda also expressed support for announcing such a situation.

15min photo / A state of emergency is imposed on the border with Belarus

The introduction of a state of emergency in the border area and deeper within the country imposes bans on those entering and traveling within it. There are also additional restrictions and powers for officials.

According to Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Vitaly Dmitryev, the main restrictions will be applied to the border section closest to the state border, and residents of the additional five-kilometer-wide zone may have to experience only occasional inconveniences on a daily basis. True, the situation could change if greater threats were identified on the Belarusian side.

Two-level zones

According to V. Dmitrijev, the territory where the state of emergency has been declared will be divided into two zones – the border section and the deeper areas in the country.

Photo by Luke April / 15min / Vitaly Dmitryev

Photo by Luke April / 15min / Vitaly Dmitryev

In the border area, controls will be tighter from the first days, and in the second area, additional capacity will be used only when necessary.

“The ban on visiting the border section applies to everyone and the border section will require a special permit (…), that border section is five kilometers from the border. Where there are a further five kilometers, only random checks shall be carried out if there is a risk. ” 15min he said.

According to V. Dmitrijev, cars with numbers of other states and suspicious persons will be checked in such areas on ordinary days. If the situation changed, only then would controls be strengthened.

“It simply came to our notice then. And the need for control will arise when there is a threat – a crowd of illegal migrants is coming, they need to be concentrated somehow closer to the border, they can spread, and such cases probably require control, ”said the Deputy Minister.

Life goes on as it went. Except that officials will be able to draw attention to one moment or another

Life will continue

V. Dmitrijev promises that decisions will be made on the basis of intelligence, and in the absence of significant information, officials will not be burdened with unnecessary work.

“It simply came to our notice then. Except that the officials will be able to pay attention to one moment or another, check a person or a car, apply measures on the roads and so on, ”the Deputy Minister said about the areas outside the border section.

Photo by Vidmantas Balkūnas / 15min photo / Soldiers of the Lithuanian Armed Forces are on duty near the road leading to Druskininkai

Photo by Vidmantas Balkūnas / 15min photo / Soldiers of the Lithuanian Armed Forces are on duty near the road leading to Druskininkai

True, even in the border section, stationary checkpoints are not promised to be established, at least not yet.

“They will be mobile. There are now more police officers at the firewalls and people are already working. I can’t name the specific number yet, but the police force has already been used, “the Deputy Minister noted on Tuesday evening.

Different restrictions on meetings

The treatment of meeting bans in the two areas will also differ.

We take the position that this situation should not cause inconvenience to Lithuanian citizens, it is intended to manage illegal migration flows.

“There are no questions in the border section – no meetings and no meetings near the accommodation facilities,” V. Dmitrijev emphasized.

According to him, questions are already being raised as to whether meetings or events will be restricted in the area within five kilometers of the border.

“We still take the position that the situation should not cause inconvenience to Lithuanian citizens, it is intended to manage the flows of illegal migration and, if necessary, to react, in our opinion, to illegal processes that will prevent officials from performing their duties,” said the Deputy Minister.

Promises to assess individual cases

Lithuanian officials promise to assess all cases of entry into the border section individually and humanely. Such an approach may be needed soon, as there are many towns in this section that can be visited by villagers, and the center of the district is Šalčininkai.

“Of course, there will be questions about access from the surrounding towns and villages with Šalčininkai. For example, people go for medical services, maybe even for shopping, ”V. Dmitrijev admitted.

Vidmantas Balkūnas / 15min photo / Sign marking the border section at Musteika village (Varėna district)

Vidmantas Balkūnas / 15min photo / Sign marking the border section at Musteika village (Varėna district)

“Again, we will probably suggest to the officials to assess each case individually, based on the reason given, because Šalčininkai falls into that five-kilometer section – the border section. There will be such practical questions here, but we will look at it in a civilized way and try something like quarantine – the application for a person’s travel can be assessed every time, “said the Deputy Minister.

Problems in obtaining permits should not arise and, for example, when going to the border section to care for a sick person or for other important reasons.

All arriving people are advised to have identity or property documents if they are the reason for admission. According to V. Dmitrijev, this would “make life easier” for everyone and the inspections would be shorter.

In general, the ministry promises to collect and disseminate answers to the most frequently asked questions of the population, and municipalities are expected to use additional information.

Residents will only experience inconvenience as the situation worsens

According to the Deputy Minister, questions were also raised about Druskininkai, but the residents of this city should not feel any special changes.

“As for the city itself, the border section ends at the outskirts of the city, roughly where the firewall is. “Life in the city itself will and will continue to happen, I don’t think there will be much change here, except when there will be a need for control and that will be a necessity,” he explained.

The biggest changes in both Druskininkai and the entire border could be felt if the situation at the Lithuanian border began to resemble the situation at neighboring Poland.

“Then there will definitely be more means, controls, officers, soldiers, then the vigilance will definitely be higher. In any case, you can really feel the inconvenience, “said V. Dmitrijev.

More troops and police at the border

They spent Tuesday evening in Varėna district, right on the border with Belarus 15min journalists say signs of a future emergency are also visible in the evening.

“It is customary to meet the State Border Guard officers when driving to the border municipalities, but today we also met with army cars in the border municipalities of Varėna and Druskininkai. The military had stopped on the side roads of the main border roads. He parked next to the cars, holding guns and traffic sticks. Today, the military does not stop those entering the border section, such mobile points will start performing their function only from midnight, ”writes Gabrielė Navickaitė, a journalist for 15 minutes.

Photo by Vidmantas Balkūnas / 15min photo / Soldiers of the Lithuanian Armed Forces are on duty near the road leading to Druskininkai

Photo by Vidmantas Balkūnas / 15min photo / Soldiers of the Lithuanian Armed Forces are on duty near the road leading to Druskininkai

In the village of Kabeliai, just three kilometers from the border with Belarus, she and her colleague Vidmantas Balkūnas also interacted with the locals.

Some people don’t care, others worry about whether loved ones from big cities will be able to visit them

“The local salesman feels calm about the situation at the border. The woman said she sees many officers and soldiers on the village streets. The saleswoman said that the locals do not know what changes await when the state of emergency will be declared, they do not have any information about it yet, “the journalists report.

“Some people don’t care, others are worried whether relatives from big cities will be able to visit them. The saleswoman said that migrants have become commonplace for border residents. It is no surprise if the locals meet them on the village streets, in private yards or in the woods, ”they say.

In the evening, journalists also recorded how large police and army forces gathered at the Kapčiamiestis firewall of the Lazdijai team.

What was decided?

The introduction of a state of emergency will restrict the movement of vehicles in the border section without the permission of border guards, and will ban the entry into the area, except for local residents, as well as those who have real estate there and supporting documents.

It is true that entry will be allowed for other reasons, such as work, but this will require permission from the State Border Guard Service (SBGS).

In the area of ​​the state of emergency, the authorities will be able to inspect vehicles and persons and their belongings in order to find and seize illegally held weapons, ammunition, explosives and other dangerous substances, apprehend offenders, and meetings will be prohibited here.

Vidmantas Balkūnas / 15min photo / Barbed wire fenced State border border with Belarus in Raigardas Valley (Druskininkai municipality)

Vidmantas Balkūnas / 15min photo / Barbed wire fenced State border border with Belarus in Raigardas Valley (Druskininkai municipality)

The decree also provides that weapons lawfully held by the population may be seized if it is known that they may be used to commit crimes. Measures have also been put in place to prevent migrants from being admitted to Lithuania.

Migrants who have previously entered Lithuania and settled in the country will be restricted in their right to correspond, telephone, etc., except for the possibility to apply to state institutions and bodies.


Source: 15min.lt – suprasti akimirksniu | RSS by www.15min.lt.

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