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First Ukraine ’refugees’ arrive in Latvia

  • 2014-06-19
  • From wire reports, RIGA

The number of asylum requests have increased this year (photo: Delfi)

The first group of Ukrainian refugees have been granted asylum in Latvia since unrest broke out in the country.

Seven refugees were granted asylum this month due to the crisis in the Ukraine, Normunds Garbars, head of the State Border Guard told a Latvian TV program..

"The crisis in Ukraine is not a reason for Ukrainian citizens or other country's citizens to try and illegally get in to Latvia. Though we need to admit, that this is the first year Ukrainian citizens are asking the refugee in Latvia," Garbars said. 

Garbars added that the number of asylum applications have also increased this year. Last year 50 people people have requested asylum whilst this year 106 people have applied, Delfi reports.

Meanwhile, NATO will end its war games in the Baltics on June 20. Around 4,700 troops and hundreds of military vehicles from ten countries participated in the military exercises. Russia responded by carrying out similar exercises in the Kaliningrad conclave. 

Heavy fighting has erupted between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatist rebels near the war-torn eastern town of Krasnyy Liman, BBC reports.

News of the fighting came after President Petro Poroshenko talked of declaring a unilateral truce in the near future.

He said on Thursday that Ukraine would sign a historic association agreement with the EU on June 27.