Lithuania has stepped up patrol on its border with Poland after spotting a new refugee route from Southern Europe to Scandinavia, and has also taken other undisclosed measures, Renatas Požėla, head of the country's State Border Guard Service, said in an interview with BNS on Thursday.

"The flows are changing and new directions are turning up. Earlier, the direction was from the East to the West along our external border, and we used to mainly have problems with Vietnamese citizens. And now we have the South-North direction. We are analyzing the situation and directing our forces to and taking measures where they are most needed, including the Lithuanian-Polish border. There are currently definitely no decisions to resume internal border controls, but we are stepping up our capabilities taking into account the existing situation. I wouldn’t want to elaborate as it has to do with the service secret," the border guards' chief said.

"The stepped-up controls are only one of the forms but there are also other forms, including information collection. So we have taken action in several directions and certain things are invisible," Požėla said.

Four groups of Iraqi migrants have been detained in Lithuania in the the last ten days. They entered the country from Poland and were travelling to Scandinavian countries.

Požėla is currently in Greece, where he is observing a Frontex mission on the Island of Lesbos, which is some 20 kilometres from the Turkish coast.

"The situation is tough: about 3,000 refugees arrive in the island each day," Požėla told BNS. "Today, I was flying in a helicopter and, over the course of four hours, we spotted 19 boats, each of them carrying on average 40 people. There's essentially no control: these people land on the coast and set off on the routes they know. They head for the registration centres where they are issued certificates [...] with which they then travel on to Europe."

Požėla says the island of 90,000 people currently hosts some 7,000 refugees, while during the peak there were 15,000.

Renatas Požėla
Renatas Požėla
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas
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