Lithuanian authorities are sending questionnaires to Russians in the country, based on which they decide whether they pose a threat to national security. Euronews has seen such a letter, in which the Migration Department of the Interior Ministry asks who Crimea belongs to and asks for their views on the war in Ukraine.
The Department provided the news agency with data according to which last year residence permits were revoked for 38 Russians living in Lithuania. This year, the authorities have intensified their efforts to identify those who, in their opinion, support the actions of Russia, which is waging a war of invasion in Ukraine: 97 people have already had their residence permits revoked.
Thus, since the beginning of the war, 135 Russians have lost the opportunity to reside in Lithuania.
The right to reside in Lithuania can be taken away for several reasons, for example, if a foreigner has committed a “very serious crime”, “poses a threat to national security” or society, the department said for Euronews’ inquiry.
After Vladimir Putin introduced troops into Ukraine, a wave of emigration from Russia hit neighboring states, including the EU-member Baltic states. In 2022, nearly 4,000 Russians asked for residence permits – double the number from a year earlier, according to the department. At the same time, last September Vilnius refused to let in anyone who wanted to avoid Putin’s announced mobilization. “The mere fact of evading military service does not mean that Lithuania has opened its arms to everyone who does not want to fulfill the purpose of mobilization”, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said at the time. But exceptions are possible, each case should be assessed individually, he added.
Questions about Crimea and attitudes toward the war in Ukraine are now also included in the application form for a residence permit, a Russian living in Lithuania told The Moscow Times.