Lithuanian borders violated by Russia and Belarus in September

You would expect border guards to know where the border is. Or at least you would think that border guards had enough respect for the concept of a border to keep a safe margin if they are in doubt. But nevertheless there were two cases in September where border guards entered illegally into Lithuania.

The first incident happened on September 9 when a Russian border guard was captured near Kaliningrad. He explained that he had gotten lost, and after straying around all night he swam across a lake in search for help, unaware that he had crossed into another country. At first, Russia denied any connection with the border guard, but later admitted the work relationship. According to the Lithuanian prosecutor the border guard worked for FSB. The detainee, who admitted his guilt and was sentenced to 30 days of prison, was released on Monday.

The other incident happened a few days later and involved a Belarusian border guard who was caught on camera crossing the border. On the video two border guards are seen strolling practically on the border when one of them decides to make a quick visit to Lithuania. He returned to his own country after less than a minute.

While the first case alludes to possible espionage, the second seems more like recklessness. But nevertheless it shows a disturbing disregard of the integrity of the Lithuanian border on the part of Russian and Belarusian institutions.

In addition to these incidents on land, Lithuania also experienced a violation of its airspace during the Russian-Belarusian exercise Zapad 2017. Russia has explained that incident as a necessary maneuver to avoid bad weather.

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