Alarmed by the use of Russian military force in Ukraine, Lithuania is regularly enhancing its military defenses.
“We must ensure credible control of our eastern border of the European Union,” said Saulius Skvernelis, the Lithuanian prime minister.
Eimutis Misiunas, Lithuania’s interior minister said the barrier would help prevent “provocations”. He reminded that such provocations took place in 2014, when an Estonian security official was detained by Russia.
Linas Kojala, director of the Eastern Europe Studies Centre in Lithuania, said smuggling of cigarettes and alcohol into the EU from Kaliningrad is also a big problem.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Lithuania, “these funds [3.6 million euros] should be sufficient for the construction of the fence. Upgraded monitoring system will be implemented near it, for which funds will be found during the next year.”
Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed that construction of the fence will start as soon as the weather permits. The length of the wall will be about 135 kilometers and it will cover the distance from Vistichё District, Poland, Lithuania, and Russia – to Nemunas.
So far Russian officials have only joked on Lithuania’s defensive plans:
“If our Lithuanian colleagues want to erect a fence to stop smugglers then we are ready to provide them with the construction materials,” Anton Alikhanov, Kaliningrad’s governor, told the Rossiya24 television channel. He added that Russia had a “wonderful” brick plant near the Lithuanian border.
Neighboring Latvia and Estonia also plan to build fences in near future along their borders with Russia.