Latvian border guards turned back dozens of migrants to Belarus overnight under a new state of emergency designed to stem a flow of arrivals the European Union says is orchestrated by Minsk. Reuters reported this.
It is noted that the pushback occurred just hours after Latvia declared an emergency to prevent illegal migrants, mostly from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, from crossing into the EU state from Belarus..
In particular, about 30 migrants, including women and children, arrived at the border near the village of Robežnieki. The group consisted of Iraqi Kurds. Border guards said the migrants had to go to the nearest official border crossing, 30km away, if they wanted to apply for asylum.
The Latvian Interior Ministry said that since the imposition of the emergency state, 59 people have been turned back at the border, but most of the arriving have been allowed into the country and sent to migrant accommodation centers.
Poland and Lithuania are also facing an influx of migrants. In 2021, Lithuanian border guards detained more than 2,000 illegal migrants on the border with Belarus.
According to a representative of the European Commission, redirecting people to official border crossing points is understandable if migrants try to cross the border in unauthorized places.
"Such measures are acceptable in case of observance of the right to protection against forced return and access to the asylum procedure," he said.
Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš said EU countries must show Belarus that sending immigrants to the bloc's borders is pointless.
"Belarusian side is only escalating tensions with this hybrid war against the EU. We will stick together and maintain self-control, but we will act very decisively," Kariņš said.