RIGA - Border guards on Thursday allowed a three-year old child and his parents to cross the Belarusian-Latvian border on humanitarian grounds, the State Border Guard chief Guntis Pujats informed LETA.
Each case of illegal migrant is being assessed individually, he said. Primarily the health situation of the migrants is being evaluated, as well as the age and family situation.
"On Thursday we allowed a three-year old child and his parents who were pushed to the border from Belarus to enter Latvia. We are not dividing families if there are children," said Pujats.
As reported, migrant traffic to Latvia organized by Belarusian authorities has been increasing again in recent weeks.
Pujats informed that border guards have observed a very high involvement of Belarusian authorities in organizing the cross-border traffic of illegal migrants. Furthermore, Belarusian border guards have been seen carrying unusual weapons like sniper rifles and machine guns.
Last year, Latvian border guards prevented 4,045 attempts to illegally enter Latvia from Belarus and detained 446 persons, most of them before the state of emergency was introduced. Of the detained persons, 59 voluntarily left Latvia, most of them for Iraq. Meanwhile, 421 people escaped from the asylum seekers' center, which in Pujats' opinion is an indication that these migrants had no intention to stay in Latvia. Migrants also often feigned illness to get into EU territory.
This year, border guards have prevented 4,057 persons from illegally entering Latvia from Belarus, and detained 141 persons after letting them to cross the border for humanitarian considerations.
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.