This content is not available in your region

Migrants: Latvia installs 'temporary' fence on Belarus border after Poland crisis

Access to the comments Comments
By Josephine Joly  with EBU
euronews_icons_loading
Poland's prime minister says Poland, Lithuania and Latvia are considering asking NATO for emergency talks as they struggle to manage a tense standoff on their borders.
Poland's prime minister says Poland, Lithuania and Latvia are considering asking NATO for emergency talks as they struggle to manage a tense standoff on their borders.   -   Copyright  Oksana Manchuk / BelTA

Latvia has said it is installing a 37 kilometres-long temporary fence on its border with Belarus, which should be completed by next week as the migrant crisis on the Polish border makes headlines.

The installation of barbed wire on the Latvian-Belarus border has been delayed because of issues with the company delivering the actual fence.

But now the temporary fence is almost completed – only six kilometres are left to cover.

Latvia is also considering installing a permanent fence of about 130 kilometres by 2024. The company to construct it will be selected in February, said Minister of Interior Marija Golubeva.

On Thursday authorities in Belarus and Poland said the migrant camp on the border between the two countries had been cleared, and its people have now been moved to a nearby shelter.

Latvia's State Border Guard has not detected any cases of migrants trying to cut the barbed wire.

However, in other places on the border where there is no fence due to rivers and bogs, attempts to enter Latvia continue.

"On speakers, we play loud announcements in Kurdish, Arabic, English, and Russian that entering the territory of Latvia illegally is subject to criminal liability. Most of the time it is enough and it's hoped they will return voluntarily," said deputy chief of the State Border Guard, Juris Kusins.

22 migrants were peacefully deterred on Tuesday, according to Latvia's border guard.

Meanwhile, Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has criticised Germany for initiating talks with Lukashenko, saying "talks with Lukashenko are talks with a dictator".

"Lukashenko wants to legitimize himself. For more than a year he was not recognized, no one talked to him, but now he is being talked to," Landsbergis said.

The Belarus State Border Committee has accused Lithuanian border guards to use dogs to keep migrants away in unverified footage. Lithuanian officials have strongly denied these allegations.

Fellow Baltic state Estonia has also been making preparations, although the country is not bordering Belarus.

The Estonian Defence Forces encompassing 1684 guards will partake in a week's training as a precautionary measure.

Additional sources • EVN