Two asylum requests because of Russia mobilization since Monday in Latvia

Border crossing has been refused to 23 Russian citizens since Monday, September 19, when restrictions on visa holders from Russia came into force, the Interior Ministry said Saturday. Two persons have requested asylum because of the mobilization in Russia.

The Ministry said that the situation on the border between Latvia and Russia was peaceful and stable. The State Border Guard has stepped up controls, including careful checking of all persons. The number of border crossings continues to decline.

“Mobilization in Russia as such is not the basis for granting asylum in Latvia. So far, two persons have requested asylum because of the mobilization. Each case shall be assessed individually, including an assessment of national security risks. Asylum en masse has never been granted in Latvia and it will not happen,” said Interior Minister Kristaps Eklons.

Border guards are stepping up patrols to prevent the border from being crossed by Russian citizens trying to avoid mobilization.

No Russian citizen is allowed to cross the Latvian border as a tourist, even if they have a Schengen visa issued by anoter EU member state. The range of persons who may, as an exception, cross the EU's external border is determined in accordance with the agreement reached by the foreign ministers of the countries of the region and in accordance with the decision taken by the Latvian Government.

From September 19 to 23 (inclusive), there were persons with documents who were allowed to cross the border between Latvia and Russia in accordance with the exceptions established by the Government. However, a new release by the Interior Ministry did not name the number of crossings that had been allowed, instead breaking them down into percentages.

But an earlier release said "The number of Russian citizens who want to enter Latvia has significantly decreased - this number is 5 times lower than in Estonia and Lithuania, where around 5,100 and 5,300 Russian citizens entered, respectively, since September 19," which suggests a figure of around 1,000. On September 23, the LETA newswire gave the number of legally accepted arrivals from Russia as 1,132 since September 19 when the new regulations came into force. 

27% of them had C visas (family members of Latvian nationals, EU, European Economic Area, or Swiss Confederation nationals; freight and passenger transport workers, cargo or technical services crew; seafarers; persons whose entry is related to humanitarian considerations).

7% had D visas (family members of Latvian nationals, EU, European Economic Area, or Swiss Confederation nationals; freight and passenger transport workers, cargo or technical services crew).

53% had residence permits issued to members of the family of Latvian nationals.

13% were seafarers with the ship entering a port of Latvia, but who cannot leave the ship.

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