RIGA - The Latvian Ministry of the Interior has drafted a government decree on the closure of two Latvian-Russian border crossing points - in Vientuli and Pededze, LETA learned.
Vientuli - the smallest border crossing point at the Latvian-Russian border, would have become the last route for Ukrainian passport holders over 14 years of age to enter Russia from third countries by land from October 16. Ukrainian citizens will now only be able to enter Russia via the border crossing at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow.
The draft decree has been submitted to the government for approval.
The annotation to the draft decree, the ministry says that in accordance with Russian authorities' decision, as of October 16, 2023 all holders of Ukrainian passports will only be allowed to enter Russia from third countries through two border crossing points, one of which is the Vientuli border crossing point on Latvia's border with Russia.
Consequently, the decision means that conditions would be created on the Latvian-Russian border that may significantly affect public order and pose risks to national security. There are grounds to believe that such a decision by Russia is a response to the relevant decision of the European Union (EU), including Latvia's decision to ban vehicles with Russian license plates from entering the territory of the country, the Ministry of the Interior said.
Taking into account Russia's military invasion of Ukraine and the need to prevent a threat to Latvia's internal security related to an attack against Latvia's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, state power or democratic order, it is planned to suspend the operation of the Pededze border crossing point and the Vientuli border crossing point as of October 16.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will ensure that the Russian side is informed about the decision.
At the same time, the closure of these border crossing points will relieve resources of the State Border Guard and other relevant services, which can be redirected to other locations to ensure border security.
There are border crossing points on the Latvian-Russian border also in Terehova and Grebneva.
As reported, in view of the illegal migration pressure exerted by Belarus, the Latvian government decided in mid-September to close the Silene border crossing point.