Lithuania Closes 2 Border Crossings with Belarus

    Photo: Vladislav Matskevich [via Wikimedia Commons]

    The Facts

    • The Lithuanian government said on Wednesday that it will temporarily close two border crossings with Belarus — Tverecius and Sumskas — saying that traffic will be diverted to the Medininkai border checkpoint, which is the largest of Lithuania’s six crossings with the country.

    • Lithuania didn't expand on the circumstances nor threats that provoked the closing of the crossings, but it did cite "geopolitical circumstances." Belarus's Border Guard said that Lithuania made the decision due to "alleged security threats" and the presence of the Wagner private military company in Belarus.

    The Spin

    Anti-Russia narrative

    Baltic states like Lithuania are simply responding to the Wagner threat that Belarus now poses. Nobody wants Russian mercenaries on their borders, especially as illegal crossing attempts increase, and it is understandable why Poland and the Baltic states are increasingly taking a hard line on Belarus, Putin's main ally in Europe.

    Pro-Russia narrative

    Lithuania has taken unfriendly action against Belarus, which will only hurt both countries. Restricting trade always has a negative effect on the economy, and Lithuania has no rationale for the move other than abstract fears. The Baltic states, alongside the West, only have one goal: isolate Russia and its allies.

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