This is reported by the Latvian publication LSM.
This decision was made by the country’s government in connection with the fact that the Russian Federation designated Ludonka in the Pskov region (Vientuli on the Latvian side) and Sheremetyevo in Moscow as the only border crossing points through which Ukrainians can enter from October 16.
The government of Latvia is afraid that due to the decision of the Russian Federation, queues of several days could arise at the border, threats to public order and state security.
“According to the statistics that we know about Finland, Norway, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, the total volume that we have will absolutely inevitably lead to such conditions, and we simply cannot allow this,” said the Minister of Internal Affairs of Latvia Rihard Kozlovskis.
Previously, the land flow of Ukrainian citizens from the EU passed through almost 30 border crossing points. After the entry into force of the decision of the Russian Federation, this flow should go through the smallest checkpoint – Vientuli.
Read also. How Ukrainians can return home through the checkpoint at the border with the Russian Federation: explanation of the DPSU
“Currently, an average of 500-600 people cross the border at the Vientuli checkpoint. In the direction of Latvia – from 150 to 200, in the direction of Russia – from 250 to 300. From this general flow, approximately 50 Ukrainians go to Latvia per day, to Russia — about 60,” said Aldis Stanislavskis, Deputy Head of the Vylyatsk Department of the State Border Guard.
The mayor of Latvian Balvi, Serhiy Maksimov, believes that if the Vientuli point is not closed, then an emergency situation would have to be declared in the Balvi, Aluksne and Luda regions.
“The biggest risks we see are mass riots that could happen. Now, to cross the Latvian-Russian border, you have to count on a day and a half. If the situation worsens, even two or three days. We can only imagine the emotional state of these people “People may become more nervous and conflict situations may arise,” Maksimov said.
According to the data of the border guards cited by the publication, this year citizens of Ukraine entered the Russian Federation through land border crossings on average about 6 thousand times a month: a minimum of 5.5 thousand, a maximum of 7.4 (that is, approximately 200 crossings per day ).
From the middle of the year, Vientula accounted for from a third to about 40% of this flow. In October, citizens of Ukraine entered the Russian Federation through Vientuli 892 times.
Estonian border guards informed the newspaper that an average of 127 citizens of Ukraine, including eight minors, enter the Russian Federation through Estonia every day (data from the beginning of September to October 10 inclusive). The number of border crossings in the direction of the Russian Federation by citizens of Ukraine increased in the middle of the year: if from January to May it gradually increased from 1.8 to 3 thousand, then in June it reached 4.7 thousand and since then it has been slowly decreasing.
Vientuli and Pededze checkpoints have been closed since October 16.
- Earlier, Latvia closed the Silene checkpoint on the border with Belarus, leaving the Paternieka checkpoint open.