Latvia imposes state of emergency near border with Belarus due to illegal migration

Following Lithuania’s decision to turn illegal migrants back to Belarus, illegal migration to Poland and Latvia has increased

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Aleksandra Akińczo/PAP
FILE - In this Friday, July 9, 2021 file photo, a member of the Lithuania State Border Guard Service looks through binoculars as he patrols on the border with Belarus, near the village of Purvenai, Lithuania. Lithuania has ordered its border guards to turn away, by force if needed, migrants attempting to enter the Baltic country as the rapidly growing number of immigrants illegally crossing from neighboring Belarus has emerged a major foreign policy issue to the small European Union nation. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis, File)

Due to the intensifying problem with illegal migration, the Latvian government has introduced a state of emergency in regions bordering Belarus. The state of emergency will be in force between August 11 and November 10 2021.

In accordance with the government’s decision, the Latvian Border Guard will be supported by the police and National Armed Forces to contain the situation.

The Border Guard’s competencies will also be expanded. Officers will have the right to turn back illegal migrants and even use physical force and special measures if the situation demands it.

The Latvian government has also obliged the appropriate institutions to ensure accommodation and first aid to persons who have crossed the Belarusian-Latvian border.

Rising numbers of migrants have reached Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland, which accuse Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of using the issue to press the EU to reverse sanctions. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis, File)

Following Lithuania’s decision to turn back illegal migrants back to Belarus, illegal migration to Poland and Latvia has increased.

A total of 283 migrants have already crossed the Latvian border between August 6 and 10.

Last week, Latvian PM Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš announced the acceleration of the modernization of his country’s border infrastructure and the engagement of armed forces in the protection of the border.

The Latvians have also already strengthened border protection and are being supported by four Frontex officers.

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