PPA strengthening checks at ports, borders and on international coaches

The Estonian-Latvian border crossing at Ikla seen from a bus window.
The Estonian-Latvian border crossing at Ikla seen from a bus window. Source: Helen Wright/ ERR News

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) will carry out additional checks on the Estonian-Latvian border, at ports, and transport hubs in the coming weeks to prevent migrants who cross the Belarusian border from traveling onward.

In recent weeks, the PPA has blocked the movement of 29 foreigners who entered Estonia illegally, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Head of the Border Guard Veiko Kommusaare said Latvia is currently experiencing the highest level of migratory pressure over the last three years.

He said Latvian border guards are working around the clock but the large increase of migrants affects neighboring countries too.

"In recent weeks, we have identified several groups of migrants near the border and inland who entered the EU illegally and are taking advantage of free movement to leave via Estonia towards our Nordic neighbors. We have therefore reinforced our presence near the border, on [transport] routes and at ports, taking into account the migrants' possible movements," Kommusaar said.

Latvian-Belarusian border. Source: ERR

Estonia sent a team of police officers – ESTPOL8 – to assist on the Latvian-Belarusian border two weeks ago.

"Today we are also sending a new ESTPOL shift to Latvia and we are in constant contact with our partners to ensure that our threat picture is as accurate as possible and that we are able to both plan and assist in Estonia," said Kommusaar.

Residents in the border area are also encouraged to report suspicious behavior to the PPA.

In the middle of September, the agency detained a group of 21 people in Valga, Estonia who had entered the EU illegally from Latvia.   

Last week, a group of five people was identified by the PPA, and on Monday (October 2), three citizens from Cuba were detained at the border.

PPA officials working at the Estonian-Latvian border. Source: PPA

Most people are trying to travel onwards to Scandinavia through Estonia.

Lithuania is also experiencing the same problem as migrants travel south to try and reach countries such as Germany.

There has been a 20-fold increase compared to last year, national broadcaster LRT reported.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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