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Latvia, Russia will boost cooperation in fight against illegal migration — official

December 29, 2015, 20:19 UTC+3 RIGA

One of the key issues at the meeting of Latvian State Border Guard and the Russian Federal Security Service Border Department was illegal migration of foreign nationals from Russia to Latvia

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© ITAR-TASS/Timur Subkhankulov

RIGA, December 29. /TASS/. Russia and Latvia are intensifying the exchange of operative information on the situation on the border, a high-ranking Latvian State Border Guard official told TASS on Tuesday.

"We decided to boost operative information exchange next year, it’s in our common interests," Marik Petrushin, the chief of a directorate of the Latvian State Border Guard, who took part in the consultations, said.

Russia was represented at the talks, which are held twice a year within the framework of a working group, by Alexander Murzin, the head of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Border Department for the Pskov Region.

One of the key issues at the meeting was illegal migration of foreign nationals from Russia to Latvia: a total of 450 illegal migrants have been detained in Latvia, which is twice as many as in 2014.

"Illegal migration is a tendency of the past two years. At our meeting, we confirmed the common understanding of the problem. We are jointly solving the common task to guard the border," Petrushin said.

He said that thanks to cooperation between the border guard bodies of Russia and Latvia, long lines of trucks, which were seen in mid-December at the border, have disappeared by the New Year’s holidays.

The issue of border management by technical means, including the construction of a barrier on the border with Russia planned by Latvia, causes no disagreements among the participants of the working group, Petrushin said.

"From the professional viewpoint, any works to manage the border are only welcome, as they make it possible to detain violators," he said. The official added that demarcation of the Russian-Latvian border will be completed already in 2016.

Latvian Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis earlier said that in order to limit the flow of illegal migrants, the republic plans to build, at separate sections of the border with Russia, a barrier with the total length of 90 kilometers. A total of 17 million euros may be spent on the project over four years. The construction of the barrier started earlier in December.

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