[Moscow Branch]The EU has accused Belarus of intentionally releasing immigrants and refugees from the Middle East and other countries toward Lithuania (population of about 2.7 million), a small country in the European Union (EU). In May, Belarus’s Lukashenko administration forced an Irish airliner to land for the purpose of detaining dissident journalists, and the EU imposed sanctions. It is a form of retaliation against the EU using refugees as a de facto weapon. The number of illegal immigrants and refugees entering Lithuania by land from Belarus has increased sharply since June. About 780 people were identified in the first week of July alone, according to Reuters. The number of illegal immigrants and refugees detained in Lithuania in the last year was 81, and the impact of the surge in influx is great. The Lithuanian government declared a state of emergency on the 2nd of this month. Lithuanian President Nauseda accused Lukashenko of “intentionally sending immigrants as a political tool.” EU President Michelle also said, “It is clear that Belarus is using illegal immigrants to try and put pressure on the EU, including Lithuania,” and said it intends to support Lithuania. According to Lithuanian authorities, migrants and refugees from countries such as Iraq, Syria and Turkey stand out. It is said that Belarus’s “travel agency” is intentionally attracting immigrants and refugees from various countries, such as mediating flights to the capital Minsk. Following the forced landing, the EU has imposed economic sanctions to limit the trade in Belarus’ main products, potassium fertilizer and petroleum products.