Polish humanitarian convoy reaches Lithuania

A Polish convoy carrying humanitarian aid for migrants has reached Lithuania following a request for assistance made by Vilnius through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

Both Lithuania and Poland have seen increasing numbers of migrants trying to cross their borders from Belarus. The two countries, along with Latvia, have accused Belarus of orchestrating a policy in which migrants are pushed across the border in order to de-stabilise the EU.

"Lithuania's border is the frontier of the entire European Union," Urszula Doroszewska, Poland's ambassador to Lithuania, told reporters in Vilnius.

"Lithuania has also been protecting Poland, so it is in our interest that it is equipped in the best possible way," she added.

This is the third humanitarian convoy sent to Lithuania by Poland. In July, the value of Polish humanitarian assistance to Lithuania totalled nearly EUR 200,000.

Lithuanian Deputy Interior Minister Arnoldas Abramavicius has expressed his gratitude to Poland for the aid. In a statement published by the Polish Embassy in Vilnius, the minister added that Lithuania had also been supported by Polish experts.

Abramavicius was quoted as saying that the current situation on the border has stabilised but co-operation and the coordination of operations designed to protect the EU’s external border remain important.

Vilnius has so far received humanitarian aid from 18 countries through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Poland has also sent 53 Polish police officers to help fight the migration crisis.

So far nearly 4,200 illegal migrants have already crossed the Lithuanian-Belarusian border this year, compared to 81 in 2020.