Conflicts: Lithuania closes two more border crossings with Belarus

Lithuania closes two more border crossings with Belarus

The border between Lithuania and Belarus is almost 680 kilometers long. photo

© Mindaugas Kulbis/AP/dpa

Four of the six crossings along the border between Lithuania and authoritarian Belarus are now closed. The Belarusian opposition leader speaks of “iron curtains”.

Lithuania has temporarily closed two more border crossings with neighboring Belarus for security reasons. By decision of the government of the Baltic EU and NATO country, the two checkpoints at Lavoriske and Raigarda are now closed until further notice. This means that only two of the six crossings along the almost 680 kilometer long border between Lithuania and the authoritarian Belarus will remain open. This is intended to ensure better control of the flow of goods, transport and people across the border and to curb the attempted import and export of sanctioned goods and smuggling.

The government in Vilnius had previously closed the two Sumskas and Tverecius crossings in the summer of 2023. This means that only the Medininkai and Salcininkai checkpoints are open, and from now on it will no longer be possible for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the border. The boarding and disembarking of passengers will also be restricted at the railway border checkpoints in Kena and Kybartai, where transit trains running via Lithuania between Russia and the Russian Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad stop.

The Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanowskaya was critical of the closure of the border crossings. This would create “iron curtains,” said the politician living in exile in Lithuania.

The government in Vilnius rejected this. “The decisions taken correspond to the times, the national security challenges and the geopolitical situation,” said Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite. She stressed that Lithuania will continue to keep a humanitarian corridor open for “people fleeing the regime.”


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