Foreign Ministry repeatedly warns public against travel to Russia, Belarus

Buses are still traveling regularly from Rīga to Belarus and Russia. This is not forbidden, and people are free to move. But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs still strongly recommends refraining from trips to these countries, Latvian Radio reported July 22.

Daily trips to the cities of Belarus and Russia are offered by different international passenger carriers. The price of one ticket is around €50 to €90. Most of the trips have been sold out for several days.

Latvian Radio tried to communicate with carriers organizing bus routes, but they avoided public conversations.

The travel agency Fortuna Travel offers a variety of travel opportunities to the cities of Belarus. Larisa Koļešņikova, Chair of the company's board, said the demand was average and mostly, the trips are bought by seniors who go to visit relatives.

Koļešņikova also acknowledged that it was a cheaper way to travel than European countries.

A similar comment was also made by a spokesman for the carrier “SIA VISSA”.

The Latvian Road Transport Directorate's public relations specialist Sanita Heinsberga said that the border is open in accordance with restrictions, and Latvia's situation is not unique at the Baltic or European level.

"In substance, any form of sanctions relating to hostilities in Ukraine does not entail a restriction on passenger transport, consequently, both historically and today in Latvia and in other countries, such passenger transport is taking place. These services are divided into two parts from the perspective of passenger traffic – they are of local importance in relation to border passenger flows, while the other part, particularly on the Russian side, is Ukrainian nationals traveling to Latvia," Heinsberga said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is informed that the two countries are still visited by a significant number of travelers from Latvia. But in the face of the tense security situation in the region, since Russia's full-scale military aggression against Ukraine and Belarus's involvement in it, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that Latvian nationals not go to both countries.

Travelers may be subjected to provocations by both national special services and falsely accused of law violations, resulting in arrests.

“We note that travel alerts also have a recommendatory nature, because we cannot limit the right of people to leave Latvia, nor can we limit travelers to visit certain foreign countries, including Belarus or Russia. It is stated in the Constitution that a person can move freely and freely leave the country, so it is essential that people are informed that passenger carriers are responsible and they are informed of these travel warnings prior to the purchase of tickets so that people can then consider risks,” explained Diana Eglīte, press secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

If a person has traveled to Russia or Belarus and has encountered some unexpected problems, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has an emergency phone of the consular department (+371 26337711), which is working 24/7.

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