Interior Minister: Latvian eastern border needs 'improvements'

The border infrastructure between Latvia and Russia will need improvements, Interior Minister Māris Kučinskis (United List) said in an interview with Latvian Radio on June 27.

Kučinskis said that part of the infrastructure on the Latvian-Russian border had been developed, but part of it had not been commissioned since the work had been stopped four years ago.

In autumn 2019 the Internal Security Bureau (IDB) detained former border chief Normunds Garbars and the co-owner of the road construction society "Igate" Māris Peilāns, suspected of breaches in the setup of the eastern border. The investigation initiated by the IDB grew to several criminal cases. The prosecutor's office has indicted several criminal cases related to the construction work of the eastern border. Fraud, aiding it, bribing, wood theft, and inaction is among the accusations of both former border guards and representatives of several companies, LTV broadcast De Facto reported.

Kučinskis acknowledged that the three-year break in the construction of the border fence had not been good for our security. In addition, due to the incomplete video surveillance systems, more border guards are required to keep an eye on the situation.

In Kučinskis' view, the infrastructure of the Russian border should be improved, including video surveillance. The Minister's remarks did not indicate that any specific measures were planned to accelerate the strengthening of Latvia's eastern border.

Meanwhile, regarding the situation on the Russian border following weekend events in Russia, Latvia “is more cautious”, the minister said. However, there is no indication that the situation could change, Kučinskis said, indicating that the overall situation is calm.

The situation on the border between Latvia and Belarus is stable, Kučinskis said, but illegal migration is continuing, although the Latvian services “have become accustomed”.

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