NOVOPOLOTSK, 2 November (BelTA) – Belarus' visa-waiver program which was launched this year for citizens of Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, is criticized by the governments of these countries, which introduce restrictive measures for their citizens wishing to visit Belarus, Igor Butkevich, First Deputy Chairman of the State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus, said as he met with staff of the Naftan oil refinery and residents of Novopolotsk to brief them on ongoing military and political developments in Belarus and abroad, BelTA has learned.
Igor Butkevich noted that Belarus' visa-waiver program has become an irritating factor for the governments of the Baltic states. They have launched a wide-ranging information campaign to discredit the Belarusian visa-waiver program. "For example. Lithuania and Latvia have introduced a number of travel restrictions to prevent their citizens from visiting Belarus. Lithuanian state insurance companies have stopped issuing green cards necessary for visiting Belarus. Citizens are also persistent informed about the risk of becoming an object of provocative activities on the part of the Belarusian special services," Igor Butkevich said.
Speaking about the situation on the border of Belarus, he stressed that the situation remains under control. Neighboring European countries are building fences on the state border to, according to their official version, deter illegal migrants and refugees. At the same time, attempts to push back migrants into the territory of Belarus continue. Belarusian border guards have not closed a single international checkpoint while such points in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia cause constant multi-day queues.
As for the Ukrainian border, the situation is not easy. Belarusian border guards are doing everything possible to prevent violations on this section of the border. For their part, the Ukrainian authorities have forbidden, for example, residents of border settlements to cross the border to forage for mushrooms and berries on the territory of Belarus. People may face up to criminal charges for violating this requirement.