On March 21, the Diet of Lithuania adopted the law "On introduction of restrictive measures in relation to military aggression against Ukraine" in the first hearing.

Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya's


on legal issues,

Kristina Richter,

explained what this means for the citizens of Belarus:

  • This law does not change visa restrictions that already exist for Belarusians.

  • These were introduced in connection with the announced Emergency Provision.

    Humanitarian visas were issued with the support of the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the visa process will remain unchanged for people affected by the regime's political repression.

  • Citizens of Belarus who already have temporary residence permits, or national Lithuanian visas, or Schengen visas issued by Lithuania, will be able to continue applying for a temporary residence permit.

  • This law also limits the obtaining of electronic residences and signatures, and it is not yet fully clear whether those who already had a residence will be able to renew it when it expires.

It cannot be said that these restrictions do not meet international human rights standards, noted the Transitional Cabinet and Tsikhanovskaya's office.

"The law protects the interests of Lithuania in the field of national security, and we understand the country's concern.

In our opinion, the law should be aimed at those people who, after coming to Lithuania, continue to cooperate with Lukashenka's regime financially or by passing information to law enforcement agencies.

And in this part, the concerns of the Lithuanian government are understandable.

In this regard, the Belarusian democratic forces only welcome the efforts of Lithuania, realizing the danger of the presence of such people on its territory.

However, there are many people in the Republic of Lithuania who were forced to move to the country due to politically motivated persecution and continue to resist the regime established in Belarus," the statement reads.

It is also emphasized that "this law also affects those who have lived in Lithuania for more than 10 years, as the law suspends consideration of applications for Lithuanian citizenship."

"This provision concerns those who, even before the events of 2020 and even before the annexation of Crimea, were here, built their lives here - learned the language, got a job or opened their own business and make a significant contribution to the economy of Lithuania.

Such companies as FLO, Wargaming and EPAM are traditionally among the top IT businesses in terms of paid taxes, and most of their employees are citizens of Belarus.

Moreover, upon admission to the citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania, applicants undergo strict control, including by the Lithuanian security services."

The Joint Transitional Cabinet and Tikhanovskaya's Office noted that "in order to avoid misunderstandings with the Lithuanian side, they are ready to actively work with the state so that the restrictions do not affect those who have clearly and unequivocally spoken out against Russian aggression in Ukraine and oppose the anti-human policy Lukashenka's regime".

"We can offer Lithuania the development of mechanisms for verification and other necessary support so that representatives of the Belarusian diaspora do not face unjustified restrictions on themselves, and also do not feel in a situation of uncertainty.

The bill in its proposed form creates significant difficulties for law-abiding and loyal citizens of Belarus, including those who have been living in the Republic of Lithuania for a long time.

We are monitoring the reaction of our diaspora to this draft law and we know about all the concerns that arise in the chat rooms of Belarusians in Lithuania," says the official comment.

Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya's office believes that such restrictions should be introduced not on the grounds of a passport, but on the grounds of cooperation with Lukashenka's regime, excluding from them people who oppose the regime and the war in Ukraine.