Latvia declares state of emergency in regions bordering Russia

Following the announcement of partial mobilisation in Russia, on 27 September Latvia’s government decided to declare a state of emergency in multiple regions bordering Russia until December. One border checkpoint will be closed down until then.
Considering Russia’s decision to announce partial mobilisation in the country, which is intended to increase and prolong the war in Ukraine, according to Latvian officials, and the need to prevent possible threats to Latvia’s domestic security, the government decided to declare a state of emergency in multiple border-crossing points and several regions. The state of emergency is planned to last from 28 September until 27 December 2022.
A state of emergency is therefore declared in Alūksne, Balvi and Ludza. The legislative draft published online mentioned Augšdaugava as well, but the Ministry of the Interior clarified that the government decided to declare a state of emergency only the three aforementioned regions for now.
Considering increased pressure from illegal immigration from Belarus, Latvia’s government declared a state of emergency in Ludza, Krāslava and Augšdaugava last year. The state of emergency was extended multiple times, with the current extension to last until 10 November 2022.

Ludza is located on the border with Russia and Belarus.

The government also decided to close Pededze border checkpoint and ordered the State Border Guard to intensify control over Latvian-Russian border.
The border guard is also ordered to intensify checks of Russian citizens.
Latvia’s government ordered National Armed Forces, State Police and State Security Service to assist the State Border Guard.
Minister of the Interior Kristaps Eklons said after the announcement of the government’s decision that the situation on the Russian and Belarusian border remains stable and peaceful – everything is under control. Nevertheless, the situation in Russia requires decisive action. On Tuesday the government also went through reports on possible security risks.
Thanks to the state of emergency the state border guard will have access to appropriate resources and will have an advantage for responses to possible security risks.
The number of patrols and checks at border checkpoints will be increased as well. Pededze border checkpoint will be closed in order to optimise resources and diver border guards to bigger border checkpoints.
Eklons said that

the state of emergency will also apply to railway stations, airports and sea ports in order to increase control over the influx of Russian citizens crossing the border there.

The minister said that the Finnish government also considers partially limiting travel to its country.
«In parallel we continue working on a more measured approach in dealing with Russian residents in Europe. At the same time, we understand there can be no unified approach. This is why our goal is protecting our own region, at the very least. This is why we will monitor airports and sea ports,» said Eklons.
Costs that surface from the declaration of the state of emergency will be taken from the state budget. If institutions entrusted with specific functions request additional funding, the government will pull funding from the state budget for emergencies.
Following Russia’s announcement of partial mobilisation, the objective of which is intensifying and prolonging the war in Ukraine, according to Latvian officials, there has been an increase of the number of Russian citizens leaving the country. This means there is a possibility the situation on the Latvian-Russian border, the Ministry of the Interior stresses.

Additionally, with Latvia having adopted restrictions for Russian citizens to cross the border, there is a risk of people trying to cross the border illegally.

According to the Ministry of the Interior and the State Border Guard, since mid-September entry to Latvia has been denied to 57 Russian citizens, whereas 2 475 Russian citizens have been allowed to enter the country. 2 332 citizens of neighbouring countries have left Latvia since then.
Entry to Latvia is permitted only in specific exceptional cases.
Most of the people who have been allowed to enter Latvia since the adoption of restrictions are relatives of Latvian citizens, relatives of citizens of EU/EEZ, transport and passenger service providers and sailors. 1 310 people allowed to enter Latvia have residence permits.
16 Russian citizens have requested asylum in Latvia since the announcement of mobilisation in Russia. Most listed disagreement with Russia’s ongoing policy or political persecution as the main reason for requesting asylum. One Russian citizen was issued a visa for humanitarian reasons – to attend a funeral.
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