VILNIUS, Lithuania: The Lithuanian government said work on the first section of a fence along the 420-mile border with Belarus, due to begin this month, should be completed by April.
The fence, designed to prevent migrants from the Middle East and Asia from crossing the border, measures 70 miles and is topped with barbed wire.
More than 4,100 migrants entered Lithuania this year, creating tension between the European Union and Belarus.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is accused by the EU of sending migrants across the border in retaliation for sanctions after crackdown on the country’s political opposition.
The construction of the first section of the fence, which costs 42 million US dollars, is being carried out by the state electricity and gas network company EPSO-G.
An EPSO-G spokesman said the four-meter-high fence will be topped with barbed wire.
The remaining 240 miles of the fence will be completed by September 2022, with no walling of areas along rivers and lakes.
In addition to Lithuania, the other EU members Poland and Latvia have also seen an increase in the number of migrants illegally crossing their borders from Belarus this year. Since August, all three countries have pushed migrants back to Belarus and significantly reduced their numbers.
Russia was accused on Monday by Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas of partnering with Belarus to exacerbate the migrant crisis.
After meeting his Baltic and Polish counterparts at the Adazi military base in Latvia, Anusauskas told reporters: “We are convinced that Belarus coordinated its actions with Russia from the start.”