Lithuania requests $130M in compensation from Belarus over accusations of facilitating mass immigration

Lithuania’s Minister of Justice Ewelina Dobrowolska on Thursday announced that the Lithuanian government will be filing a complaint against Belarus for “non-compliance” with international law regarding exploitative migration. The compensatory amount of 120 million euros is to cover the violation of international law, the damage the migration has caused and legal remedies.

Belarus has had several sanctions imposed by the Council of the EU, mostly in response to Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime—which is said to be utilising migrants as a “hybrid weapon to weaken the [EU].” The sanctions target political officials of Lukashenko’s regime as well as transport and accommodation companies that aided in the illegal border crossings for political purposes. Restrictive measures placed apply to 183 individuals and 26 entities as of 2021.

Since then, Lithuania built a barbed wire fence bordering Belarus in order to slow the wave of migrants and already refused 20,000 individuals from Belarus, Tajikistan and parts of the Middle East. Lithuanian border guards are allowed to turn away migrants in hopes that they will voluntarily return to their own countries. However, at the border there have been serious human rights violations and racially motivated attacks by guards. Amnesty International and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)  said that they will continue to support migrants with legal work or provide medical assistance, on both sides of the border.