The ESTPOL8 police unit concluded its work at the Latvian Belarusian border
On Wednesday, 15 November, the fourth ESTPOL8 team of the Police and Border Guard Board finished work at the Latvian Belarusian border. The PBGB will not be deploying a new rotation to our southern neighbours, as migratory pressure at the border has relented and the Latvian border guard no longer needs the assistance of an Estonian police unit.
In recent weeks, the situation at the Latvian-Belarusian border has stabilised and the number of irregular border crossings has decreased. A month ago, more than a hundred people were blocked from entering the European Union every day in Latvia. By now, this number has reduced by half, with an average of 50 illegal immigrants apprehended a day.
According to head of the borderguard Veiko Kommusaar, the Latvian border guard has notified that due to reduced migratory pressure they no longer need the assistance of a PBGB police unit at the Latvian-Belarusian border. “This means that the PBGB will not be replacing the fourth ESTPOL8 rotation, which completed its mission on Wednesday, with a new team to assist our southern neighbours. 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 PBGB is prepared to deploy its police unit to assist our allies again in the future,” confirmed Kommusaar.
"Just as countries south of us experienced migratory pressures, there is also a growing pressure on Finland's borders. The situation at Estonian borders is currently calm, and thus far, we have not observed any illegal migration pressure either at border crossing points or in the areas between them. We are closely monitoring the situation at our borders and are prepared to respond and return anyone who has no business being here," added head of the borderguard.
Reet Zeisig, head of the PBGB bureau for international cooperation, thanked all the members of the ESTPOL8 teams who helped ensure security in our region at our southern neighbours. “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,” noted the head of the bureau for international cooperation.
The PBGB supported the Latvian border guard with its ESTPOL8 police unit from 20 September to 15 November. The teams were tasked with participating in land patrols at the Latvian border, drone surveillance and situation monitoring. Over the course of eight weeks, PBGB police teams helped apprehend over 900 illegal border crossers. During the four rotations, the PBGB supported our southern neighbours at the Latvian-Belarusian border with 48 people and seven dogs. The teams were formed of people from various prefectures and units.
Previously, Estonia has supported Lithuania in managing migratory pressure from Belarus with the help of ESTPOL5 teams in 2021 and the ESTPOL7 police unit in the summer of 2023, when Vilnius hosted a NATO Summit.