The State Border Guard Service (VSAT) of Lithuania plans to add 450 new officers over the next two years to strengthen border security with Belarus. According to VSAT director Rustamas Liubajevas, the additional officers will be recruited in 2024-2025.
Liubajevas emphasized the need to reinforce border protection and stated that the new officers would undergo a three-month introductory course before starting their service. He also mentioned that there is no shortage of applicants willing to become border guards.
The Lithuania-Belarus border is also an external border of the European Union (EU), and it has faced a significant influx of illegal migration since 2021, organized by the regime in Minsk. Lithuanian border guards have prevented the unauthorized entry of more than 21,500 migrants from Belarus in the past two years.
The budget allocated for VSAT for the next year is expected to reach €135 million, with €91 million designated for salaries. The average monthly salary of a border guard is projected to increase from €1,006 to €1,050.
In terms of equipment, there have been efforts to align the border guards with NATO standards. The acquisition of new weapons has already begun, with approximately €3.5 million spent last year and €7 million budgeted for this year.
Lithuanian Parliament’s National Security and Defence Committee (NSGK) Chairman Laurynas Kasčiūnas suggested that the border guard service should be more oriented towards military standards, emphasizing the importance of preparedness for potential conflict scenarios. However, it should be clarified that the proposed changes do not imply a shift in the subordination of VSAT but rather the implementation of military standards.
Increasing border security has become a priority for Lithuania due to the ongoing irregular migration flows, and the reinforcement of the VSAT with additional officers will contribute to ensuring the integrity of the Lithuania-Belarus border.