Estonia sends 3rd rotation of ESTPOL8 police unit to help at Latvia-Belarus border

  • 2023-10-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - On Thursday, the third team of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board's ESTPOL8 unit began working in Latvia to assist their southern neighbors in controlling irregular migration on the Latvia-Belarus border.

The third police unit has 12 members and is headed by Nikita Golovin, head of the patrol service of the Johvi police station of the East Prefecture. The task of the third rotation is to participate in land patrols, drone observation and situation monitoring on the border of Latvia. The duration of the assignment is two weeks.

Director of the Estonian Border Guard Veiko Kommusaar said that Estonia is continuing to support its southern neighbors, because the Latvian border guard authority asked the Police and Border Guard Board to extend the assistance on the Latvian-Belarusian border.

"The first two rotations of ESTPOL8 have done a very good job over the course of a month. Unfortunately, it can be seen that the migration pressure from Belarus to Latvia continues, which is why the Police and Border Guard Board decided to support the Latvian border guard in curbing illegal immigration with a third police unit. In the current difficult security situation, we must take a united step with our neighbors and support each other," Kommusaar said.

Nikita Golovin, head of the third rotation, said that helping Latvia is important and gives the team a good experience.

"The first two rotations have supported Latvian border guards on the Latvian-Belarusian border for four weeks in a row. The third unit, which started work today, will continue to prevent illegal immigration to the European Union, similarly to previous teams. I believe that our unit will gain valuable experience from the mission on how to work together with international partners and curb mass immigration," Golovin said.

The first ESTPOL8 team was dispatched by Estonia to the Latvia-Belarus border on Sept. 20. The first rotation returned from Latvia on Oct. 4 and the second rotation on Oct. 18. Previously, Estonia supported Lithuania in controlling migration pressure from Belarus in 2021 with ESTPOL5 teams and in 2023 with ESTPOL7 police unit in connection with the NATO summit.