On Thursday, 12 January, the Saeima adopted in the final reading amendments to the Law on the State Border; they provide that, with the aim of strengthening border security and facilitating the work of border guards, rivers along the Eastern border have now been included in the state border zone.
The amendments cover rivers on the Latvian borders with Russia and Belarus through which the state border runs: Ludza, Pernovka, Zilupe, Aktica, Asūnīca and Sarjanka. Sections of these rivers occasionally, and especially in summer, dry out, thus no longer serving as a natural obstacle to illegal border crossing. The amendments do not apply to the Daugava River, as it is not possible to jump it or cross it on foot, and border guards can detect illegal border crossing in time.
Personal use of these rivers, such as swimming, shall be forbidden, because these rivers shall henceforth be subject to border zone restrictions.
Approaching these rivers will now be allowed only for the purposes of border security, maintenance and restoration of the terrestrial border and border zone, performing works related to communication lines, roads or railroads crossing the border, geodesic or cartographic purposes, as well as response to disasters in coordination with the border guard.
Until now, the border zone was not extended along rivers, and this hindered proper guarding of the border. With these rivers now also being included in the border zone, border guards will be able to employ technical measures and service dogs more efficiently.
Saeima Press Service