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€17m needed to strengthen Latvia's border

An extra €17m is needed for strengthening the border between Latvia and Russia, Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis said in an interview with Latvian Television on Monday.

He said that the government has approved the plan, providing that this sum will be invested in border guarding in four years. The minister though voiced hopes that the financing will be allocated sooner.

The investments are necessary to ensure that trespassers are detained before they have actually managed to cross the Latvian border and apply for asylum. Kozlovskis stressed that in a situation when a trespasser has applied for asylum, he remains in Latvia for a while and later is transported back to the country of origin, and all of it is financed from the government budget resources, suggesting that a secure border could be cheaper than buying return tickets for asylum seekers.

In the past months, Latvian border guards have detained a number of immigrants from Vietnam. 

For these people Latvia is regardedas a transit country, as they go to Poland and other EU countries after crossing into Latvia. Sometimes they are told that Latvia is in fact Germany when dumped by people-smugglers.

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