PM says new regulation might be needed in future to protect border with Belarus

  • 2023-01-16
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Latvia might need a new legal regulation in the future to protect its border with Belarus, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) believes. 

This Tuesday, the government is scheduled to hear a report on a more appropriate regulation for Latvia's administrative territories bordering with Belarus and Russia. Previously, the Justice Ministry had asked to call off the state of emergency declared in Latvia's municipalities bordering with Belarus, but the Interior Ministry says that the state of emergency must be prolonged. 

The prime minister indicated that the situation on the Latvian-Belarusian border remains unchanged for a year and a half already, with migrants attempting to illegally enter Latvia from Belarus on a regular basis. 

Karins feels that the situation on the Latvian-Belarusian border is unlikely to change in the near term and there are reasons to believe that a more sustainable permanent regulation is needed that could replace the emergency rule. Such a regulation has yet to be drafted, which means that the emergency will have to be extended at the border, Karins told journalists following the coalition meeting on Monday. 

Edgars Tavars, chairman of the United List political group in parliament, noted that the number of migrants attempting to cross into Latvia from Belarus has grown from 301 people in August to more than 1,000 in December. The United List therefore supports the Interior Ministry's proposal to extend the state of emergency in the border areas by at least three more months. 

Considering the persistent pressure of illegal migration, the government on February 1 decided to extend the state of emergency in the regions bordering with Belarus until May 10. The state of emergency in the regions of Ludza, Kraslava and Augsdaugava as well as Daugavpils City was first declared on August 11, 2021 to deal with a sharp increase in illegal border crossings.

Latvian authorities consider attempts by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko's regime to push migrants across Latvian, Lithuanian and Polish borders to be methods of hybrid warfare targeting these countries.