Frontex, the European Union’s border and coast guard agency, has deployed an addition 60 officers to Lithuania, according to a press release published by the agency.
The additional officers deployed to Lithuania are part of the EU’s response to Belarus’s negligence in honoring the agreements made with the EU to secure mutual borders, allowing migrants to cross EU external borders unimpeded. Additional Frontex support was requested by Lithuania’s government.
“Today [30 July 2021], 60 additional standing corps officers have arrived in Lithuania to support the country with migration management due to increased pressure at its border with Belarus. Earlier this month, Lithuanian authorities asked Frontex for additional support and the launch of a rapid border intervention,” the press release reads.
There is now a total of 100 Frontex officers, 30 patrol cars, and 2 helicopters deployed to Lithuania to support their domestic border security operations. In addition, experts from the Frontex European Centre for Return will also be visiting the country to discuss potential Frontex support and potential return operations conducted by the agency.
“In total, the agency is currently deploying 100 officers, 30 patrol cars and two helicopters in Lithuania. Experts from the Frontex European Centre for Return will also visit Vilnius next week to share information about types of return operations coordinated by the agency and discuss potential Frontex support,” the press release reads.
Officers are a part of the agency’s relatively new standing corps that keeps officers on-hand should they be needed throughout the EU.
Since the beginning of 2021, Lithuanian authorities have logged more than 3,200 illegal entries into the country from Belarus. More than half of the detected migrants came from Iraq, followed by nationals from the Republic of the Congo, and Cameroon.
Frontex’s mission is to support national border control and coast guard authorities in operations to secure the EU’s external borders. Most Frontex deployments of officers take place on request by Member States wishing to receive support.