Lithuania is “ready to accept up to 2,000 refugees that are in Moldova and transfer them to Lithuania,” Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė announced in a Facebook post on Monday.
The decision came after Monday’s meeting of the interior ministers of Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova in Poland, where the refugee situation was discussed.
This follows the government’s decision to provide Moldova with €750,000, dedicated to Ukrainian refugees.
Lithuania’s “government took a number of decisions today regarding the humanitarian aid not only for Ukraine but also for Moldova,” Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė announced at the press briefing on Monday. Moldova is facing “a big challenge accepting refugees as it is not an economically strong country,” she added.
“It is not only a logistical but also a financial burden,” the prime minister also said.
Lithuania also discussed with Moldova’s Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița about the possibility of helping “with things” but the decision to give money was taken “so that the [Moldovian] government can decide what is needed by themselves,” Šimonytė said.
Bilotaitė also announced that the interior ministry’s officers would be heading to the Polish-Ukrainian border Tuesday to deliver technical equipment and help coordinate refugee processes.
Based on her information, over 281,000 Ukrainians had already reached Poland, 74,000 came to Moldova, and 85,000 to Hungary. In the meantime, 123 Ukrainians have registered in Lithuania since 25 February.
Bilotaitė reminded that “all accepting countries simplified procedures and provided people with guarantees without refugee status”.
As for Ukrainians in Lithuania, “only a small part is living in refugee centres, the majority are staying with their relatives, fellow citizens or good-will people,” Bilotaitė wrote.