Lithuania to block freight traffic if Belarus closes borders

On Friday, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said that if Belarus closed its border, Lithuania would also block freight coming from the neighbouring country.

Alexander Lukashenko  announced plans to close the borders with Lithuania and Poland on Thursday, but Lithuanian border guards said the traffic remains normal on Friday.

Later on Friday, Belarusian State Border Committee confirmed it had beefed up border protection, but said the crossing points were in full operation.

Lithuanian PM Skvernelis noted that Belarus had taken no steps so far to close the border. “We see many loud statements coming from that country, aimed primarily at internal politics. If they take such steps, there’ll be an adequate response,” the prime minister told reporters.

“[Lorries] would simply not be able to cross from that country either into Lithuania or into Poland. That would deal another blow to [Belarus’] economy that is already seriously ill,” Skvernelis said.

Belarus’ economy would be the first to suffer if Minsk closed the borders, the prime minister said.

Some Lithuanian sectors would be impacted, “but this wouldn’t be a significant blow to us”, he added.

‘Mirror principle in international relations’ – president

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said the threats by Alexander Lukashenko to close the border were a “provocation” and that Lithuania would respond in kind.

“I believe it’s a provocation without a specific basis. The authorities of some countries just forget that there’s a mirror principle in international relations and borders can be closed on both sides,” Nausėda was quoted as saying in a statement on Friday.

Nausėda discussed the situation in Belarus with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda and invited Poland to join the Baltic states’ sanctions against Lukashenko and other Belarusian officials.

“The Polish leader said he was considering introducing national sanctions for Belarus,” Nausėda said.


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