Latvia’s government announced the state of emergency on the Russian border in a statement that read:
Due to the mobilisation in Russia, the Government has decided to introduce a state of emergency on the territory of the Aluksne, Balvi and Ludza regions, as well as at ports, airports, border crossing points and railways, as of 28 September 2022.
The state of emergency at the Latvian-Russian border will remain in force for three months. The Government also decided to close the Pededze border crossing point to further reduce the flow of Russian citizens, and instructed the State Border Guard to step up border surveillance and border checks on Russian citizens, drawing additional resources from other services.
Currently, the situation on the Latvian-Russian border is stable, calm and under strict control, but the mobilisation announced in Russia has led to a significant increase in the number of Russian citizens wishing to leave their country.
There is therefore a risk that the number of irregular migrants on the Latvian-Russian border could also increase rapidly. The aim of the emergency measures is to prepare for this in a preventive manner.
“We have action plans at different levels, depending on the number of migrants, which have been developed and approved by the Government.
“The border is already being reinforced to prevent any attempt to cross illegally. However, there is a risk that the number of migrants could increase rapidly in a short period of time, which is why the border guards need to declare a state of emergency at the border in order to be able to quickly mobilise additional resources – the State Police, the State Security Service and the National Armed Forces – if necessary.”
“We need to take precautionary measures in advance, without waiting for the situation to escalate,” said Interior Minister Kristaps Eklons.
The State Border Guard strictly adheres to a joint government decision which stipulates that only the categories of persons defined in the order are allowed to cross the EU’s external border.
Since 19 September, when the Cabinet Order “On the entry of citizens of the Russian Federation into the Republic of Latvia” entered into force, the State Border Guard has stepped up controls, including thorough checks of all persons.
Border guards are also stepping up patrols to prevent illegal crossing of the green border.
The number of Russian citizens wishing to enter Latvia continues to decrease. So far, 57 Russian citizens have been refused entry since 19 September.
No Russian citizens are crossing the Latvian border as tourists. The range of persons who are allowed to cross the EU external border as an exception is determined in accordance with the agreement reached by the foreign ministers of the countries of the region and in accordance with the decision taken by the Latvian government.
The news comes after Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkevics stated that Latvia will not provide visas to Russian citizens evading mobilisation, following Russian President Putin’s announcement on Wednesday, September 21.
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