There are clear reasons why the flow of refugees and migrants from war-torn Syria and other countries have not used the route - refugees and migrants cannot predict how Russian and Belarusian officials will treat them if they are caught crossing their borders. Routes via existing EU member states like Turkey, Greece and Italy are relatively more straightforward.

The border service said Lithuania’s geography surprised illegal immigrants, especially those who come from mountainous areas or deserts, with its extensive forests immigrants faced different challenges crossing the country than those sailing across the Mediterranean Sea.

Although local people know the forests very well and could make good make money by helping the illegal migrants transit into the country, there is little illegal trafficking with locals choosing to help border guards, according to the service.

“Only taxi drivers used to come from Vilnius to pick up some Vietnamese from the border,” said Dautartas.

15min.lt