Taking into account the increased pressure of illegal immigration, the Latvian government has declared a state of emergency in Ludza, Krāslava, Augšdaugava counties, as well as in Daugavpils from August 11 last year. Until now, it has been extended several times.
The Ministry of the Interior (IeM) states that from August 10 to August 9, 2021, a total of more than 6,777 people have been prevented from illegally crossing the state border.
Although the number of persons illegally crossing the Latvian-Belarusian border has decreased, the border guard still detects cases of illegal crossing of the state border.
In May, 20 persons were prevented from illegally crossing the state border, in June – 96 persons, and in July – 13 persons.
In August, compared to July, the number of persons who tried to cross the border illegally has increased. If the aforementioned 13 attempts to illegally cross the border were prevented in July, then by August 8 there were already 50, so this situation should be treated with caution and be prepared for different situations, Interior Minister Kristaps Eklon (AP) stated in a press release.
“According to the information provided by the State Border Guard, in the event of a repeated hybrid attack, it would need additional capacity by involving other services, but other services do not have the right to carry out activities on the border and provide support to the border guards without the circumstances of an emergency situation.
Without extending the state of emergency, human resources at the border would be reduced by 75%. We cannot allow such a risk,” said the Minister of the Interior.
An important circumstance to consider is the war started by Russia in Ukraine, which is also supported by Belarus. Therefore, there is reason to be cautious about the decrease in the number of illegal crossers of the Latvian-Belarusian border.
Information about illegal crossing of the state border from the territory of Belarus is also still being received from Lithuania and Poland. Thus, surveillance of the Latvian-Belarusian border in an enhanced mode is ensured in the future.
It is also important to note that Poland has completed the construction of the permanent fence on the border with Belarus, while the construction of the permanent fence is already underway on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border. Lithuania has extended the state of emergency until September 15.
On the other hand, the construction of the permanent fence on the Latvia-Belarus border is planned to start in the near future. Therefore, there is a possibility that Belarus may take advantage of the situation that a permanent fence has not been built, thereby increasing the number of border violators.
It is also essential to ensure a unified, coordinated international action regarding such illegal crossing of the state border, in order to ensure equal protection of the borders of the countries of the entire region with Belarus.
In accordance with the amendments directed by IeM, the regulation also stipulates that the border guards, policemen and State Security Service employees involved in border protection shall receive a bonus for work in high-risk and stressful conditions up to 50% of their hourly wage rate.
The expenses related to the allowances will be covered from the state budget funds for unforeseen cases according to the amount actually required.