Estonia expresses readiness to provide assistance to Latvia in tackling migrant crisis

  • 2021-08-09
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Estonia has expressed readiness to provide assistance to Latvia  and help lessen migration pressure on the country's eastern border, Defense Minister Artis Pabriks (For Development/For) told LETA. 

On Monday, Pabriks and Estonian Defense Minister Kalle Laanet discussed the issue of illegal immigration in the Baltics. 

For the time being, Latvia has not made any assistance request to Estonia, but if such a necessity arises, the Interior Ministry will be dealing with the matter, Pabriks said. 

The ministers were unanimous on the need to prevent a "Belarus-sponsored increase of illegal migrants in Latvian territory" and that everything has to be done to prevent the migrants from crossing from Belarus into Latvia. 

"This is not a classic refugee situation but a part of Belarus-organized policy. Now, everything has to be done to bring illegal crossing of Latvia's eastern border to the minimum," Pabriks said. 

As reported, during the past four days, 214 people have been detained for illegally crossing the Latvian-Belarussian border, LETA learned from the Interior Ministry.

The State Border Guard is on high alert, ready to prevent illegal border crossing.

As there has been a pressure of illegal migration on the Latvian-Belarussian border, the State Border Guards has taken up a number of measures. On Saturday 39 illegal trespassers were detained on the country's border, on Sunday - 35, and on Monday 86, the ministry reported.

So far on Monday, 136 people have been detained.

This year, so far, 269 people have been detained for illegally crossing the Latvian-Belarussian border, mostly Iraqi citizens.

In order to protect the external border of Latvia and the European Union from illegal migration, Interior Minister Marija Golubeva (For Development/For) has asked the government to declare a state of emergency at the Latvian-Belarusian border.

Assessing the situation in Lithuania and considering the increasing risks on the Latvian-Belarussian border, monitoring of the green border has been increased, attracting the army and four experts from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex.

Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) and Interior Minister Marija Golubeva (For Development) announced that Latvian plans to speed up building of border infrastructure and attracting army forces for border security.

Defense Minister Artis Pabriks last week tasked the National Armed Forces to expand their support to the Border Guard.