Latvia extends state of emergency on border with Belarus

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The state of emergency continues on the border between Belarus and Latvia © A. Farnsworth / IMAGO

Latvia has extended the state of emergency on the border with neighboring Belarus until May 10, 2022.

Riga – The government in Riga decided on Tuesday to continue the state of emergency imposed in four regions in the south-east and south of the Baltic EU country for three more months. The border guard should remain authorized to send back migrants who have entered Belarus illegally.

“As we see that the pressure on our border does not ease and the hybrid operation organized by the Lukashenko regime continues, we have no choice but to extend the state of emergency,” Interior Minister Marija Golubeva said.

For months, migrants have been trying to get from Belarus to Poland or the Baltic states via the EU’s external borders. The EU accuses the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko of having flown people from crisis areas such as Iraq or Afghanistan to Minsk in order to then smuggle them into the EU.

Latvia has responded by increasing border protection and building a border fence. The government in Riga also declared a state of emergency on August 11, which was originally intended to last for three months and has already been extended once. Since then, according to the Interior Ministry, almost 5,500 people have been prevented from illegally crossing the border with Belarus. There has been an upward trend since mid-December.

According to the ministry, the reason for the increase in attempts to convert is a change in tactics. According to this, migrants recently tried to get to Latvia repeatedly in small groups of three to twelve people and at different places on the border. (dpa)

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