The Latvian Cabinet of Ministers announced Thursday its plan to close the Ventuli and Pedeze border crossing points to Russia. These changes were direct responses to Russia’s policy of allowing Ukrainian passport holders to enter Russia from two border points, one being the Vientuli crossing. Latvia claimed this was an attempt to “present tensions on its border.”
Following a sitting of the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers on Thursday, the new draft order “On Suspension of Operation of Border Crossing Points on the State Border of the Republic of Latvia – Russian Federation” was released. The order calls for the “suspension of the operation” of the two border crossing points from 16 October 2023, just four days after Russia informed the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs of their new plan to allow Ukrainians into the country. Of the border crossings chosen by Russia, the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow and the Vientuļi border crossing point on the Latvia -Russia border, Vientuli is the “smallest border control point on the border.” Due to this, the Cabinet expressed their concern that keeping the border open would “significantly affect public order and pose a threat to national security.” Reasons for closing the Pededze crossing were not disclosed.
Latvian Foreign Minister Kriskanis Karins condemned Russia’s actions, claiming that “Russia continues its tactics, trying to divide the EU member states that have a border with.” He further stated, “Such behavior is doomed to failure.” In their statement announcing the border closure, the Latvian Cabinet upheld this opinion, affirming that Russia’s actions were “an attempt to divide the European Union.”