In Latvia, National Security Council Is Convened Due to Situation on Border with the Russian Federation and Belarus

Thursday, 17 August 2023

Latvian President Edgars Rinkēvičs has called a meeting of the National Security Council on Thursday, August 17 to discuss the situation on the border with the Russian Federation and Belarus, as well as to assess the policy of punishment in the context of a hybrid war. 

"Today I convened a meeting of the National Security Council; on the agenda: the policy of punishment in the context of hybrid warfare, the situation on the eastern border and the presence of the Wagner Group in Belarus," Edgars Rinkēvičs wrote on Twitter

As reported by Latvian news outlet Delfi, the Latvian president expressed dissatisfaction with the current criminal policy against persons involved in the organisation of illegal migration, calling it too soft. 

"Those who help and organise illegal migration and help the regime of Alexander Lukashenko are helping the enemy. For this, you can get 30 days in prison, after which a person has a good rest and continues to do what he was doing before. What is the point of demanding that border guards, internal troops and the National Armed Forces actively protect the border if, in such situations, the courts and the prosecutor's office look at things differently?". 

He also emphasised the need to solve a number of problems on the border with the Russian Federation and Belarus. 

The President noted that the eastern border could be divided into three parts: there is an unequipped section, there is a border with Russia that was built before 2019 and corresponds to the then perception that the Russian Federation was a greater risk factor, and there is a border with Belarus that was equipped  to stop migrants, but the fence itself will not protect against greater provocations. 

Rinkēvičs said equipping the eastern border of Latvia with sensors and video surveillance systems, as well as the construction of a deterrent fence, is a priority. 

Poland and the Baltic countries are worried about the situation on the border after hundreds of mercenaries from the Wagner PMC arrived in Belarus last month at the invitation of the self-proclaimed president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. In addition, attempts to cross the border by illegal migrants with the assistance of Belarusian security forces have intensified.

The four countries are discussing the possibility of completely closing the border with Belarus if the situation so requires and are planning to finalise the steps at the end of August.

Latvia previously announced the mobilisation of border guards to strengthen the protection of the border with Belarus.

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