Latvian Border Guard chief: Belarus has tried to arm illegal migrants

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Belarusian border guards have attempted to arm illegal migrants crossing the Latvian border with firearms, the Chief of State Border Guard Guntis Pujāts said on Latvian Television on April 4.

Pujāts said that Latvian and Belarusian border guards have not had direct clashes, but information has been received that there have been attempts by the Belarusian services to “persuade [migrants] to be armed and carry out aggression against Latvian border guards”.

The Chief of the Border Guard considers that various forms of provocation from the Belarusian border guards are likely to be expected.

“There has been verbal aggression against Latvian border guards from the Belarusian services. We are also following, of course, what has happened in Poland, where there was physical violence against Polish border guards. We value the likelihood of such risks as quite high,” Pujāts noted.

In general, Pujāts estimated that the pressure on illegal migration on the Latvian-Belarusian border was still topical.

“In January, there were 344 persons, 377 in February, and 556 in March. Flights from Iraq, from Baghdad to Minsk, have resumed. There is also news of flights from Tehran, so it is expected that this pressure on illegal migration [..] could also increase,” Pujāts said.

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