Lithuanian authorities have detected a significant increase in Belarusian citizens travelling on all PKP routes near the border with Belarus, registering a rise of 50 per cent.
In a recent statement, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Lithuania pointed out that this increase in traffic, both in terms of transport and goods, requires a strategic re-evaluation of the management of these movements. With increased flows comes the imperative to focus on technical resources and conduct more comprehensive inspections of individuals, vehicles, and cargo.
In 2023, nearly 3.9 million individuals underwent border checks at road border checkpoints along the state border with Belarus, reflecting a substantial increase of 25.5 per cent compared to 2022. Of those checked, 66 per cent were citizens of Belarus.
Meanwhile, a total of 684,000 Lithuanian citizens crossed the border, marking a decrease of 13.4 per cent compared to the previous year. The flow of Lithuanian citizens through all PKPs situated on the border with Belarus dropped by approximately 13.4 per cent, with nearly 62,000 unique individuals recorded, representing a decrease of 17.5 per cent.
On average, adult citizens of Lithuania crossed the border approximately 11 times throughout the year. The primary border checkpoints frequented by Lithuanian citizens were those located on the Šalčininkai and Lavoriškiä roads.
In addition, in the context of the activities of the Belarusian intelligence and security services against Lithuania, as the regimes try to circumvent sanctions in various ways and the threat of traffic accidents at the border increases, this dynamic of events poses additional risks. For these reasons, we are submitting proposals to the Government regarding the effectiveness of border control with Belarus.
Yesterday, Lithuania’s National Security Commission also announced that it is considering closing two more checkpoints on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border as part of a proposal to reduce travel between the neighbouring countries. The Laboriskes and Raigardas checkpoints, the only ones that remain open after Lithuania closed two others last year, could be affected by this proposal. This decision-making process is part of broader efforts to mitigate threats from Belarusian and Russian intelligence activities against Lithuania.