Lithuania closed the railway crossing with Belarus
Lithuania has closed the Stasily-Beniakonie railway crossing on the border with Belarus. The Lithuanians plan to install an X-ray system there to detect smuggling.
The government of the Republic of Lithuania has closed one of the two existing railway crossings on the border with Belarus. The official reason for this decision is the large smuggling of goods, mainly cigarettes. Last year, more than 2.5 million packs of cigarettes were seized there.
“These measures are taken due to the large flows of smuggling on trains from Belarus and the resulting increased threat to Lithuania’s national security,” the Lithuanian Customs Service said in a statement.
From now on, freight trains from Belarus will be routed through the Gudogaje – Kiena crossing, where an x-ray machine is operating to control the wagons. A similar system will be installed at the Stasily – Bieniakon crossing, which will probably be opened at the end of 2024, when the construction of the X-ray system will be completed.
Rail freight traffic across the Lithuanian-Belarusian border has decreased significantly after the European Union introduced sanctions against Belarus in 2021 in connection with the hijacking of a plane with a Belarusian oppositionist on board. Subsequently, relations between the two countries deteriorated after the regime in Minsk supported Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. In addition, Lithuania introduced last year a state of emergency at the border with Belarus, due to the government in Minsk directing a large number of transports with migrants towards the border, which they want to cross illegally to apply for asylum in the European Union.