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Situation along Latvian-Belarusian border thorny, but controllable — Border Guard

A mass influx of migrants was recorded between August 4 and 10, when 320 people were apprehended

RIGA, August 20. /TASS/. The situation along the Latvian-Belarusian border, which faces an influx of illegal migrants, is troublesome, but controllable, Juris Kusins, chief of the Latvian State Border Guard for Daugavpils, said on Friday.

"Now the situation on the Latvian-Belarusian state border is, of course, thorny, but is completely under control, so there is no reason to worry. For example, an attempt by only one individual to illegally cross into Latvia has been thwarted on the Latvian-Belarusian border in the past 24 hours," he said.

"In the meantime, a mass influx of migrants was recorded between August 4 and 10, when 320 people were apprehended. A record, in the negative sense, was set on August 9, when 136 people were detained within 24 hours for having illegally crossed the Latvian-Belarusian border. Since the emergency was declared, the Border Guard in cooperation with its partners - the National Armed Forces and State Police - have foiled attempts by 475 people to cross into Latvia illegally from August 11 until this morning," Kusins stated.

According to the official, the number of attempts to cross the Latvian-Belarusian border illegally has dropped in recent days, and the situation has stabilized on the border.

"For instance, 23 attempts to get into Latvia were thwarted on Tuesday, eleven on Wednesday and one in the past 24 hours," he noted.

Like Lithuania, Latvia has faced illegal migration from Belarusian territory. Riga has imposed increased control and mobilized the resources of border guards and the army to protect the border. The Latvian government declared an emergency on the border from August 11 until November 10 to authorize the border guards to expel migrants back into Belarus.

The Latvian government set a goal of speeding up the construction of infrastructure along the border with Belarus, which started several years ago, and approved funding of 1.7 million euros for barbed wire fencing to be put up on the border. The project requires about 30 million euros for completion.