Estonia to end temporary control on Latvian border from Wednesday

  • 2022-05-24
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The Estonian government at an extraordinary online session decided on the proposal of Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani to end the temporary border control at the Estonian-Latvian border from Wednesday.

Temporary border control was introduced due to the escalation of Russia's military activities in Ukraine in order to get a better overview of the people coming to Estonia.

Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani said that by now, the number of refugees arriving from Latvia has significantly decreased and the migration channels have changed -- most of the refugees arrive in Estonia from Russia, as military activity in Ukraine is mainly taking place in the eastern part of the country. According to the minister, an average of nearly 300 refugees a day have arrived in Estonia from Russia in recent days, while less than 100 have arrived from Latvia. Almost half of these refugees use Estonia as a transit country.

Jaani said that the border control fulfilled its purpose and Estonia received a useful overview of the people who had arrived during the big wave of the arrival of Ukrainian war refugees and enabled them to effectively guide them to the necessary services. "Doing away with border control will not prevent people leaving Ukraine due to military activity from being assisted at the border and referred to services in the future as well. Police patrols will continue to carry out random checks in the vicinity of the border and if these checks identify vehicles and people arriving from Ukraine, they will be able to advise them if necessary. I thank everyone who contributed during the border control and I commend the people of Estonia for agreeing to temporary inconveniences for a good cause," Jaani said.

There are currently 39,802 Ukrainian war refugees in Estonia. In total, Estonia has received 64,148 refugees at the border, 24,346 of whom used Estonia as a transit country, moving on to other countries.

On Friday, May 13, the Police and Border Guard Board stopped implementing the mass immigration emergency plan and the Social Insurance Board took over the management of assistance to war refugees.

Compared to the emergency, the biggest change is related to the reception points, instead of which there are now 24/7 information points of the Social Insurance Board operating at the Tallinn bus station, the previous reception points in Tartu and Parnu as well as in Narva. The information point provides basic information about staying in Estonia and moving on from there, and the staff of the information point can help, if necessary, to provide short-term accommodation for those war refugees who need emergency assistance, including those moving on from Estonia.