Latvia steps up patrol on Belarusian border / article

The state border guard has asked the Ministry of Defense to provide 50 national guards for more intensive surveillance of the border with Belarus, Latvian television reported on July 6th.

In an interview on the Latvian radio, the head of the border guards Guntis Pujāts said that the situation on the border with Belarus is currently very peaceful, but that the presence of the guards has increased since the end of May. So far, three incidents have been recorded in which two perpetrators were arrested while a man was seeking asylum.

The risks and tensions are increasing, said Pujāts, which is why he has turned to the commander of the German armed forces and the defense minister to support more intensive border surveillance through the use of national guards and to make more resources available for trafficking with perpetrators. This goal requires about 50 additional personnel to double the patrol effort.

Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said the armed forces were already under pressure with various additional tasks, but the 50 or so National Guards needed could be provided.

“Since we have not yet upgraded the Latvian-Belarusian border, a greater responsibility lies with the staff. In the present case, it patrols and helps the border guards because the border guards lack human resources, ”said Pabriks.

The head of the border guard pointed out the danger that the number of illegal border crossings in Latvia, similar to Lithuania, is increasing. “We are a neighbor of Lithuania, and we predict at any time that the situation in Latvia could become very tense. We therefore proactively approach the cooperation partners early on and do not wait until the problem occurs, ”says Pujāts.

In the event that the number of illegal border crossing attempts increases significantly, an action plan must be developed within the State Border Guard. If the situation develops similar to that in Lithuania, an emergency could be declared. Pujāts said that the Latvian border was worse equipped than the Lithuanian one.

The government discussed the situation behind closed doors on Tuesday.

“We understand that the Belarusian state is currently making a great contribution to this migration to Lithuania, and this potential threat also affects the Latvian border, so we must be prepared for more people, migrants from different third countries, to come here,” said Pabriks.

“We are probably in a better geographical position at the moment, because not Latvia and, I am sure, Lithuania is not the target country. Our countries are generally used to reach Germany or any other member state of the European Union. As a result, our geographic location does not currently contribute to [illegal migration], but we see risks that the situation could change, ”said Pujāts.

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