Earlier, the border guards suggested that the government decide to close one of the border crossings with Belarus. Due to freight traffic, work-related travel, emergencies and humanitarian reasons, the border crossing at Paternicki will remain open, LETA said.
Closing the Sealine crossing will allow employees to be transferred to the “green” border. “At the same time, by reducing the number of people crossing the border between Latvia and Belarus, the associated risks will be reduced. It should be noted that Belarus’s explicit support for the war against Ukraine is seen as an additional risk factor and potential possibility.” The Ministry of the Interior stressed that “this is an incentive for Belarus to continue its actions to destabilize the situation on the border with Latvia.”
Pressure on the border between Latvia and Belarus
Over the past year, pressures have been growing in Latvia regarding illegal immigration on the border with Belarus. At the end of August and beginning of September, more than a hundred people a day attempted to cross the border illegally for several days, LETA wrote. According to Latvian Defense Minister Inara Murnici, the main “element of pressure” from Belarus is currently concentrated in Latvia.
Latvia’s border guard chief, Juntis Bojats, said the situation on the border last week was “probably the most tense since 2021,” LSM reported. Within a week, nearly 900 people had been thwarted in their attempts to reach Latvia, he said. He did not rule out that some people were able to enter the country and were not arrested.
Closing the crossing is not the end?
LETA reported that the Latvian Ministry of Defense is considering the possibility of deploying anti-tank mines and additional security measures to strengthen the country’s eastern border.
On average, the Sealine crossing serves about 1,200 people and about 170 trucks per day. There are two road and railway crossings on the border with Belarus. Three crossings remain closed due to migrant pressure from Belarus.
As of Tuesday, vehicles with Russian license plates cannot enter Latvia from Belarus and Russia. LETA reported that this decision was taken based on the clarifications of the European Commission and the opinion of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ban is effective from the 18th.
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