In the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Ministry of Internal Affairs emphasizes that it is necessary to carry out enhanced checks on Russian citizens entering Latvia in order to assess whether the entry of citizens of a neighboring country would pose a threat to national security or public order and security.
Last year, 11,087 visas were issued to Russian citizens. In the period from January 1 to February 24, 2022, 1,448 visas were issued, and from February 25 to June 17, 910 visas were issued.
Due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, from February 25, for an indefinite period, Latvian missions abroad stopped accepting applications for visas from Russian citizens. Visas are issued only in exceptional cases, if this is due to humanitarian considerations, as well as to family members of EU citizens, in case of serious illness or death of relatives. The same model is used in Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the personnel of the armed forces of Russia and other formations are involved in hostilities on the territory of Ukraine, in the control of the occupied territories of Ukraine, or in justifying these actions. These Russian citizens gain military experience by committing war crimes against civilians in Ukraine. Employees and officials of other Russian state and regional institutions also contribute to the continuation of the war unleashed by Russia in Ukraine through their daily work.
In addition, in the conditions of the war in Ukraine, firearms and explosives are also becoming more widespread, some of which fall into illegal circulation on the territory of Russia and become available to representatives of Russian organized crime groups.
Propaganda in the Russian media has been deliberately promoting the hatred of the Russian population for NATO, the European Union, neighboring countries and people who do not support Russia’s foreign policy for a long time.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs recalls that Belarus is supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine, allowing the Russian armed forces to use its territory and airspace to prepare and carry out strikes. There is close cooperation between the intelligence and security services of Russia and Belarus, joint operations are carried out, and citizens of Russia and Belarus are actively used for intelligence activities.
In addition, Belarus last year organized a massive influx of immigrants across the border of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, practicing hybrid warfare methods.
In recent years, there has been a tendency to increase the number of applications for long-term visas from Cameroonian citizens at the Latvian Embassy in Egypt. In 2021, the number of denials of visas directly to Cameroonian citizens at the embassy increased significantly – out of 36 visa denials, 33 were for Cameroonian citizens.
Both in the embassy and in the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, when legalizing documents issued in Cameroon, documents with visible signs of forgery are often found. This raises reasonable suspicions about the authenticity of the persons who submitted these documents, so there is reason to believe that the entry of Cameroonian citizens may be associated with a threat to national security, public order and security.
In view of the above, the government supported the amendments to the rules prepared by the Ministry of Internal Affairs to include Belarus and Cameroon in the list of countries included in the annex “Regulations on countries whose citizens are subject to additional checks when issuing a visa or residence permit.”
Additionally, all citizens of Russia, regardless of their place of residence, who wish to enter the territory of Latvia, will be checked.
Source: GOROD.LV – новости Даугавпилса by gorod.lv.
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