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Lithuania readies for more migrants entering via Belarus

June 10, 2021 GMT
Members of the Lithuania State Border Guard Service patrol on the border with Belarus, near the small town Kapciamiestis, some 160km (100 miles) of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Lithuania has detained nine Iraqi asylum-seekers who had entered the Baltic country from Belarus, officials said Monday, pointing a finger at Belarus for allegedly being involved in sending repeated groups of immigrants into Lithuania. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
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Members of the Lithuania State Border Guard Service patrol on the border with Belarus, near the small town Kapciamiestis, some 160km (100 miles) of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Lithuania has detained nine Iraqi asylum-seekers who had entered the Baltic country from Belarus, officials said Monday, pointing a finger at Belarus for allegedly being involved in sending repeated groups of immigrants into Lithuania. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
1 of 5
Members of the Lithuania State Border Guard Service patrol on the border with Belarus, near the small town Kapciamiestis, some 160km (100 miles) of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Lithuania has detained nine Iraqi asylum-seekers who had entered the Baltic country from Belarus, officials said Monday, pointing a finger at Belarus for allegedly being involved in sending repeated groups of immigrants into Lithuania. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuania will set up a border tent village to shelter increasing numbers of asylum-seekers from third countries who are entering through neighboring Belarus, officials said Thursday.

Authorities in the small Baltic country have suggested that the Belarusian government — with which relations are tense following a crackdown on opposition supporters in Belarus — could be involved in the increase seen in recent days.

“We are almost full. We need a tent camp to take the foreigners. The new camp will be able to house up to 350 people,” said Aleksandras Kislovas, head of the Lithuanian immigration authority’s local office near the southern border with Belarus.

Some 300 refugees, mainly from Iraq, Syria, Iran and Russia have entered from Belarus during the first half of year, according to statistics by the State Border Guard Service. That is several times higher than in previous years.

The tents would be used to accommodate single persons while families would be housed in regular buildings, Kislovas said.

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