Lithuanian migrant crisis enters new phase as influx ceases

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VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuanian officials say a recent influx of thousands of migrants from neighboring Belarus appears to have stopped. But with a pile of asylum bids to process and anger rising in local communities near migrant camps, Lithuania faces an unfamiliar challenge. The U.N. refugee agency’s representative for the Baltic region says that while the “emergency phase” seems to be over, the European Union member nation must focus on the wellbeing of the people held in immigration detention centers and on assessing their claims for international protection. Like fellow EU members Latvia, Estonia and Poland, Lithuania sees the entrance of so many migrants as retaliation by Belarus’ authoritarian president for sanctions the EU imposed on his country.

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