Estonia's PPA ends work on Latvian-Belarusian border

PPA officer on the Latvian-Belarusian border.
PPA officer on the Latvian-Belarusian border. Source: ERR

Estonia's Police and Border Guard ended its mission on the Latvian-Belarusian border this week as the "migration pressure" has reduced and extra assistance is no longer needed.

The PPA's fourth ESTPOL8 team ended its rotation on Wednesday (November 15). Each group was sent to the border for a two-week stint.

A new team will not be sent to Latvia as the situation on the border and the number of migrants trying to cross illegally has stabilized, the PPA said in a statement.

A month ago, more than 100 people were stopped each day but now the number has dropped to 50. 

Head of the Border Guard Veiko Kommusaar said the Latvian Border Guard no longer needs the PPA's help. 

"This means that the PPA will not be replacing the fourth ESTPOL8 rotation, which completed its mission on Wednesday, with a new team to assist our southern neighbors. We will maintain regular communication with our counterparts and keep a close eye on the situation at the borders of neighboring countries. Should it become necessary, the PPA is prepared to deploy its police unit to assist our allies again in the future," said Kommusaar. 

Veiko Kommusaar. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Reet Zeisig, head of the PPA's International Cooperation Office, thanked all the members of the ESTPOL8 teams. 

"Good cooperation and mutual assistance enhance Estonia's reputation and show our allies that we are consistent and reliable partners. Thanks to the smart and effective work of the teams, trust in the PPA is high, and if necessary, we can also count on the support of others. The experience gained in collaboration with Latvian colleagues over the last two months enhances our own skills and increases the organization's readiness to respond in similar situations," Zeisig said.

ESTPOL8 worked alongside the Latvian Border Guard from September 20-November 15. The teams participated in patrols, drone observation, and situation monitoring. In total, 48 PPA members and seven dogs took part.

PPA units helped catch more than 900 illegal border crossers in eight weeks.  

Estonia previously sent teams to Lithuania in 2021 when it was experiencing a surge in migration and this summer during the NATO summit in Vilnius.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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