Lithuania Bolsters Border Security Support for Latvia Amidst Escalating Migration Crisis
Continued Support Amidst Migration Crisis
In face of an unprecedented influx of migrants, Lithuania remains committed to bolstering Latvia’s border security. The State Border Guard Service (VSAT) of Lithuania recently announced the dispatch of 20 fresh border guards to the country. This new group will replace the 17 Lithuanian officers who have been stationed on the Latvian-Belarusian border for the past two weeks.
Guarding the Border
The incoming Lithuanian border guards are tasked with conducting border surveillance, preventing irregular migration from Belarus, and engaging in other border protection activities in problematic border sections. These activities will be executed under the coordination of their Latvian counterparts. As per the current plan, these border guards will remain on the Latvian-Belarusian border for a minimum of two weeks. Future decisions regarding further assistance will be dependent on the evolving situation at the border.
A Surge in Migrant Flow
Recently, Latvia has experienced a significant surge in migrant flow, with 164 attempts to cross the border recorded in a single day. The Baltic states have labeled this situation as a hybrid attack orchestrated by the Minsk regime. In contrast, Lithuania reported no attempts by irregular migrants to enter the country from Belarus over the past three days.
Shared Concern Over Political Manipulation
The main takeaway from this information is Lithuania’s continued commitment to assisting Latvia in managing an escalating migration crisis. This ongoing collaboration between the two nations underscores a shared concern over what is perceived as a politically motivated influx of migrants, allegedly facilitated by the Minsk regime.
NATO’s Role in Ensuring Border Security
At the margins of the NATO Summit held in Vilnius, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania signed a Declaration of Cooperation on cross-border airspace. The relevant Allied civil and military authorities will establish and use suitable airspace volumes for NATO training and exercises and other air activities within the Baltic region.
Airspace Collaboration for Collective Defence
NATO’s ability to train at scale in the air domain represents a critical element of the Alliance’s collective deterrence and defence posture. This has been demonstrated by the recently held exercise Air Defender 23, which represents the largest multinational air defence exercise conducted in NATO’s history.
Central Cooperation with Civilian Partners
The cooperation between NATO and relevant civilian partners is facilitated by the strong standing and proven relationships built within NATO’s Aviation Committee, which was formed in 1955. The Committee’s mandate is to support the Alliance’s efforts to continue adapting to the rapidly evolving security environment in an increasingly complex and networked airspace.
Temporary Protection for Ukrainian Refugees
Estonian authorities recently updated the application process for temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees. As of September 10, Estonia is granting temporary protection to war refugees from Ukraine through March 2025. This includes both first-time applicants and applicants renewing temporary protection.
European Commission Defends Legalisation of Pushbacks
Meanwhile, the European Commission defended the Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania against ongoing critique over legalising pushbacks along their respective borders with Belarus. Both Latvia and Lithuania have introduced emergency measures suspending the right to asylum and effectively legalized pushbacks, considered illegal under both international and EU law under the pretext of a hybrid threat from Belarus.
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