PPA detain two illegal migrants in Tallinn

PPA personnel on patrol in Tallinn (photo is illustrative).
PPA personnel on patrol in Tallinn (photo is illustrative). Source: PPA

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) last Friday detained two people who had entered Estonia illegally, after stopping them in Tallinn. The men had crossed into the EU from Belarus in August, and were attempting to reach Sweden, via Estonia.

Head of the PPA North Prefecture's border guard department Indrek Aru said the PPA has stepped up its patrols in southern and western Estonia as: "Migratory pressures from Belarus remain high."

"There are also still a lot of people in accommodation centers in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland who may want to use Estonia for migration to Finland or Sweden," Aru added.

"For our part, we are doing everything we can to ensure that Estonia cannot be used as a transit country for illegal migration," he went on.

The two men were aged 24 and 27 and had arrived illegally in the EU from Belarus, moving northwards to Estonia, en route to Sweden.

Aru said the two men apprehended on Friday, both Iraqi nationals, had traveled from Riga to Valka, Latvia by bus, then walked across the Latvian-Estonian border and caught a domestic bus to Tallinn.

"Their desire was to travel from Tallinn to Stockholm by ferry, which they had been planning to catch on the evening of the day they were detained," Aru said.

The PPA has received permission from a court to remand the pair in custody for up to two months and is cooperating with Latvian authorities to return them.

The pair were stopped by the PPA Friday morning in the Ülemiste district of Tallinn and asked to provide documentation. While they produced Latvian asylum protection application cards they had no document providing the right to stay in Estonia.

Questioning at a detention center revealed the men had been among those who crossed the Belarus-Latvia border in August, after which they were placed in a local accommodation center by Latvian authorities, from which they absconded last week.

Migratory pressure, which former President Kersti Kaljulaid described as a form of hybrid warfare on the part of the Alexander Lukashenko regime, has been high since mid-summer, with thousands of people crossing from that country into Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, all EU states.

While Estonia does not share a border with Belarus, it has a long southern border with Latvia.

Around 185,000 people and over 95,000 vehicles have been checked at border crossings in Estonia since mid-August, followed by the heightened alert level.

Earlier this month, PPA officials apprehended an illegal migrant of Iraqi origin who had crossed into Estonia on a bus traveling from Riga, while in late September another individual was caught after trying to board a ferry to Finland while hiding in the trunk of a car.

Finnish authorities claim that several illegal migrants have crossed the Gulf of Finland illegally from Estonia.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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