Lithuanian PM announces opening of second border crossing to Poland

Skvernelis told reporters on Tuesday morning that if the situation is not resolved, it could lead to a humanitarian crisis. Leszek Szymański/PAP

Lithuania and Poland will open a second border crossing, Lithuanian PM Saulius Skvernelis informed on Tuesday. A Lithuanian delegation will visit Poland to discuss cross-border travel, including the return home of a group of Lithuanians stranded on the Polish-German border.

Skvernelis said that he had received word from the Polish prime minister about the opening of the Lazdijai-Ogrodniki crossing between the two countries.

In connection with the spreading coronavirus epidemic and the imposition of quarantine regulations in Poland, only one Polish-Lithuanian border checkpoint - Budzisko-Kalwaria - has been open over the past several days. Long waiting times at the crossing due to coronavirus testing have resulted in a 50-kilometre queue.

Skvernelis told reporters on Tuesday morning that if the situation is not resolved, it could lead to a humanitarian crisis.

The request for a second border crossing came from Lithuania, who wants Poland to at least admit its own road freighters, who account for half of the drivers stranded at the Budzisko-Kalwaria checkpoint.

Lithuanian Interior Minister Rita Tamasuniene said more details about the opening of the Lazdijai-Ogrodniki crossing will be known in the next few hours following ongoing talks on the matter.

On Tuesday Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius appealed to Lithuanians currently outside the country to remain where they are if at all possible.