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The Rate of Migration is 55 Times Higher than Last Year


The clash over migrants
The clash over migrants is the latest episode in a battle between Russia-backed Belarus and Western nations, which has seen a tense war-of-words grow and sanctions imposed after last year’s disputed presidential election handed Lukashenko another term
Lithuanian and European Union officials have described this move as a “hybrid” attack and migrants are now caught in the middle.

Utena County and Alytus County, Lithuania

On June 10, Mohammad Elias Safi, a 47-year-old Afghan, went to Kabul’s airport to catch a flight to Moscow. From the Russian capital, he travelled “sometimes by walking, sometimes by car,” to try and reach the Belarus-Lithuania border.
On July 5, he arrived with other hopeful refugees and migrants and tried to enter the Baltic country. But they were stopped by border guards.
The trip, advertised as an easy way to Lithuania, cost him $15,000 – a sum paid to “an agent” in Afghanistan. Safi ended up in one of Lithuania’s migrant centres, where he remains now, still unsure about his future.
He is one of more than 4,000 people who has entered Lithuania in recent months, a record number. The rate of migration is 55 times higher than last year. Most are from the Middle East, mainly Iraq, while others have travelled from Africa.
Giedrė Peseckytė/Al Jazeera
The Lithuanian government says that irregular migration rates sharply peaked after May 26, when Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko threatened to flood neighbouring states with migrants and drugs.
Al Jazeera