Latvia has said it is installing a 37-kilometer-long temporary fence on its border with Belarus, which is expected to be completed by next week as the migrant crisis on the Polish border makes headlines.
The installation of barbed wire at the border between Latvia and Belarus was delayed due to problems with the company that delivered the fence itself.
But now the temporary fence is almost complete – there are only six kilometers left to go.
Latvia also plans to install a permanent fence of around 130 kilometers by 2024. The company to build it will be selected in February, Interior Minister Marija Golubeva said.
On Thursday, Belarusian and Polish authorities said the migrant camp on the border between the two countries had been cleaned up and its residents have now been moved to a nearby shelter.
Latvian state border guards have not detected any cases of migrants attempting to cut barbed wire.
However, in other places on the border where there are no fences due to rivers and peatlands, attempts to enter Latvia continue.
“On the loudspeakers we broadcast aloud in Kurdish, Arabic, English and Russian that illegal entry into Latvia’s territory is punishable by criminal liability. Most of the time this is enough and it is hoped that ‘They will return there voluntarily,’ said deputy head of the state border guard Juris Kusins.
22 migrants were peacefully discouraged on Tuesday, according to Latvian border guards.
Meanwhile, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis criticized Germany for starting 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 spoke to him, but now he is being spoken to,” Landsbergis said.
The Belarusian State Border Committee accused Lithuanian border guards of using dogs to keep migrants away in unverified footage. The Lithuanian authorities strongly denied these allegations.
Estonia, another Baltic state, has also made preparations, although the country does not border Belarus.
The Estonian Defense Force comprising 1,684 guards will participate in a week of training as a precautionary measure.