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Lithuania Mulls Travel Ban to 'Unfriendly' Nations for Troops Amid Security Concerns

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Ayesha Mumtaz
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Lithuania Mulls Travel Ban to 'Unfriendly' Nations for Troops Amid Security Concerns

Amid escalating geopolitical tensions, Lithuanian lawmakers are deliberating over legislative amendments that would restrict the country's troops from traveling to a selection of countries deemed 'unfriendly.' The suggested ban, proposed by the Lithuanian Defence Ministry, targets nations such as Russia, Belarus, China, and Moldova. The ban, if ratified, will also extend to Russian-occupied Crimea, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova (including Transnistria), Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and parts of Georgia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia).

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Protecting National Security Interests

The travel ban, set to take effect in January, aligns with advice from the Foreign Ministry regarding travel risks to these territories. This move is widely perceived as a measure to protect national security interests, particularly in light of increased intelligence activities by Belarus at the Lithuanian-Belarusian border. The primary objective is to safeguard those with access to classified information from potential security threats.

Exceptions to Travel Restrictions

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Despite the broad scope of the proposed ban, exceptions based on personal circumstances may be granted. Such exceptions, however, must be approved by the government according to established procedures. The process for seeking these exceptions and the criteria for approval are yet to be outlined.

Implications for Lithuanian Troops

The proposed ban is expected to impact approximately 56,000 individuals, especially those with access to classified information. The potential consequences of these restrictions on the professional and personal lives of the affected individuals are yet to be fully evaluated.

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