RIGA, August 31. /TASS/. The situation on the Latvian-Belarusian border where a surge of illegal migrants is being observed is complex and tense, Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said on Tuesday.
"We see the creation of additional camps, the installation of tents, we see the emergence of various weapons. So far, we are talking about light weapons, but still - more serious ones than usual. We see the increased reconnaissance activity during the entire day. Of course, all of this indicates that the situation is aggravating," the news portal of Latvian radio and television quoted him as saying.
However, he assured that Latvians have nothing to worry about. "Yes, we are experiencing pressure due to a hybrid attack and the delivery of migrants to our border. Yes, of course, we may have various incidents, this is why we urged the Belarusian side to use common sense yet we also shouldn’t exaggerate the possible threats," he pointed out.
In turn, the Latvian government introduced amendments to the decree on declaring an emergency situation at the border with Belarus at a meeting on Tuesday. From now on, the republic will provide the illegal migrants stuck between the two countries, if necessary, with food products, basic necessities and medical aid. This decision was made after the European Court of Human Rights instructed Poland and Latvia to provide the Middle Eastern refugees with housing and clothes.
Latvia was the next in line after Lithuania to run up against the problem of an illegal migrant surge from the territory of Belarus. Since August 10, 770 individuals have been stopped from illegally crossing the border, including 21 individuals over the past 24 hours. In all, since the beginning of the year, 377 people have been detained. In order to safeguard its perimeters, Riga beefed up its border control and mobilized the resources of the State Border Guard and the armed forces. The Latvian government has imposed a state of emergency on the border from August 11 until November 10 in order to grant the border guards the authority to expel the migrants back to Belarus.
The Latvian government also decided to accelerate the construction of infrastructure on the border with Belarus which began several years ago and approved earmarking 1.7 mln euros to install a barbed-wire fence there. In order to complete the construction of the border infrastructure, a total of about 30 mln euros is required.