Almost 400 migrants denied entry to Latvia on Belarus border so far

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By midnight of August 15, 395 illegal immigrants have been stopped on the Latvian-Belarusian border, chief of State Border Guard Guntis Pujāts told Latvian Radio August 16.

Since the state of emergency has been announced in the Latvia-Belarus border area allowing the border guard to promptly deny entry and return migrants to the country of origin, the largest number of offenders were deterred from crossing the border on Thursday, August 12, with 101 people. On average, there are 50 people per day. 

Pujāts explained that there are different ways of preventing people from entering Latvia – they are not allowed to enter or sent back. On the other hand, when they are caught at the time of crossing the border, border guards play a translation into Arabic that they are committing a crime, so they are called upon to turn back.

“If we don't work, we take steps to return them,” Pujāts said, but did not elaborate.

He also pointed out that the Latvian side is taking humane measures, namely giving water and food to the migrants if necessary, as well as recruiting medics who give an opinion whether the person is in good physical condition enough to continue to live outdoors.

Defense Minister Artis Pabriks (Development/For!) told Latvian Television that the migrant influx was part of a hybrid war and the regime of Belarusian regime leader Alexander Lukashenko. Pabriks criticized the concerns expressed by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) about the situation in Latvia, saying that these concerns should be addressed to Belarus, from which Iraqis are being pushed to Latvia. However, the blame for Latvia is due to the fact that the Latvian party is speaking with the UNHCR while Belarus does not engage in negotiations.

"Technically, the people invited by Lukashenko to Belarus have to ask for asylum there. All the reproaches must be directed there,” the Minister for Defense said.

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