The West should increase pressure on the regime.
The Director of the State Security Department of Lithuania (VSD) Darius Jauniškis made a statement about a record spy ring and activity of the Belarusian intelligence services in the country. The Lithuanian Seimas proposes to limit the number of temporary residence permits for newcomers from Belarus.
According to the head of the Lithuanian intelligence services LRT, there are currently about 60,000 Belarusians in the country. Data from the Public Security Service shows that 8 out of 10 of them are economic migrants. The rest are classified as opponents of the regime. However, Jauniškis focuses on the threatening trend and notes that the highest activity of Belarusian security services and intelligence agents was recorded in Lithuania.
“With this trend, when 17,000 people enter each year (obtaining employment visas or temporary residence permits), let’s calculate – there will be about 100,000 of them (Belarusians in Lithuania - Ed.) in 2025. That’s a significant force. Probably, the time will come, that “red line” will appear, when we will no longer be able to control them, because verification requires time, resources and effort,” said the Director.
Director Jauniskis notes that it is impossible “to assign an intelligence representative or a policeman to every Belarusian.” To solve the problem, the VSD proposes to tighten the requirements for Belarusians staying in Lithuania. After all, the intelligence service discovered an increase in the Belarusian diaspora and the potential for threats. This warning must be assessed by Lithuanian authorities and politicians.
Editor-in-Chief of Charter97.org Natallia Radzina, in a conversation with the Radio France internationale (RFI) in Ukraine, noted that Lithuania found itself in a difficult situation because a significant number of Belarusians are coming in this small country with a relatively small population.
“It is clear that new threats are emerging. It is clear that among those Belarusians who come to the country, in addition to people who are experiencing real political pressure inside Belarus, there are also agents of the Belarusian special services. In this situation, in my opinion, the State Security Department of Lithuania should simply professionally carry out its duties and check people arriving in the country. I consider it wrong to deprive Belarusians of the opportunity to obtain political asylum or residence permits in Lithuania,” Natallia Radzina said.
According to her, there is a huge threat to the safety of people in Belarus. Political persecution has not stopped but has only intensified since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. According to the journalist, there are about 8,000-10,000 people in Belarusian prisons who do not agree with the current regime. There are everyday arrests for political reasons.
“Lukashenka’s special services are now actively working among the Belarusian migrants. The agents monitor the lives of Belarusian political migrants abroad and probably attend many events, and some agents are infiltrated into various organizations. It is no coincidence that some of the representatives of the Belarusian opposition are promoting the ideas of lifting sanctions and holding negotiations between the West and the Lukashenka regime,” the Editor-in-Chief of Charter97.org said.
The journalist insists that Lithuania needs to tighten sanctions specifically against the Lukashenko regime. In addition, in her opinion, a regulator is needed that would monitor the implementation of such restrictions. Natalia Radina considers the economic pressure on Lukashenko insufficient. In her opinion, the restrictions introduced by the EU and the US are ineffective and are being circumvented en masse.
“There are almost no new sanctions against Belarus. There is no consistency of sanctions against Belarus and Russia, which allows the Putin regime to bypass many restrictions through the territory of our country. There are no secondary sanctions for states, which help both the Lukashenka regime and the Putin regime to avoid restrictions. There are many cases of circumvention of sanctions: Belarusian oil products, potash fertilizers, timber, and construction materials are smuggled into the EU,” Radzina said.
Last month, Lukashenka told Belarusian media that Belarusian relations with neighbouring Lithuania and Poland would be restored in the future. It probably involves the resumption of trade and economic cooperation and the lifting of the sanctions.
“I think Lukashenka is looking forward to the fact that Europe will eventually get tired and decide that the sanctions are not working (although they were not fully imposed on his regime) and start trading with the dictatorship again. Lukashenka has been playing this game for 30 years, shuttling between Russia and Europe. I hope this doesn't happen. The side of Belarus is quite clear to everyone considering Russia’s war against Ukraine.
As long as the completely pro-Russian (there is no doubt) Lukashenka regime rules there, there will always be a threat not only to Ukraine but to all Western countries. Lukashenka, who claims to allegedly improve relations with Poland and Lithuania, constantly threatens them, in particular with the use of nuclear weapons,” concludes Natallia Radzina.