Latvia orders state of emergency on border with Belarus to prevent migration crisis

On Tuesday, the Latvian government imposed a state of emergency on the border with Belarus. From now on, Lithuanian border guards will be allowed to use weapons and special means to turn back migrants who come from the territory of Belarus.


The state of emergency is expected to last until November 10.

A few days ago, Latvian Interior Minister Marija Golubeva proposed to declare state of emergency in the border area of Latvia-Belarus ‘in order to protect the external border of Latvia and the European Union against the use of instrumentalisation of illegal migration’.

The final decision was made by the country’s Cabinet of Ministers on August 19; the state of emergency has been ordered in municipalities of Augšdaugava and Krāslava; the rights of State Border Guards to prevent illegal border crossing have been extended.

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On August 11, the minister is to visit the border area of Latvia-Belarus, the press service reports.

Earlier, the Latvian authorities stepped up surveillance measures and mobilised resources of the State Border Guard and the army. They are also getting support of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).

It should be recalled that after Lithuania started diverting migrants illegally crossing the Belarusian-Lithuanian border, their flow has refocused on the Polish and Latvian directions. Thus, from 6 August 6 to the morning of 10 August, 283 irregular migrants have been detained at the Latvian-Belarusian border.

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