On 27 February, Mārtiņš Šteins, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, participated in the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council of the European Union (EU) on the situation in Ukraine and the assistance provided by Member States. During the meeting, Šteins stressed that the Latvian Government and the Minister of the Interior have expressed their support for Ukraine. EU unity, coherence and support for Ukraine are now more important than ever.
Mr Šteins briefed his European counterparts on Latvia's ongoing support to Ukraine and its people. On 24 February, the Latvian Government approved the Ministry of the Interior's Action Plan in case of mass arrival of persons from Ukraine in Latvia. The plan is now operational and Latvia is already receiving the first refugees from Ukraine. 263 Ukrainian citizens have entered Latvia in the last 3 days. 12 visas have been issued and 2 asylum applications received. Many do not need help because they are staying with relatives or friends.
The Parliamentary Secretary also appreciated the cooperation with the non-governmental sector (NGOs), which helps with information, coordination, volunteering, fundraising and other activities: "Today, on the International NGO Day, I say a big thank you to all the NGOs involved in providing support!"
In the coming days, the Ministry of the Interior plans to send to the Government for approval a special law that would allow Ukrainians fleeing the conflict who enter the Republic of Latvia for this reason to be granted the right to employment, thus ensuring their economic needs, which is very important.
Latvia appreciates that the French Presidency has recognized the importance of a hybrid attack in the context of this aggression. Latvia is currently a key target country in the Belarusian regime's attack on the EU's external borders. We are aware of the potential to use both migration flows as a tool against our external borders and other forms of attack. Latvia has not lost its guard, is ready and continues to reinforce its external border. We call other Member States to prepare for this.
20 years ago, on 21 November 2002, at the NATO Summit in Prague, Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga pledged on behalf of Latvia to do everything in our power not only to contribute to strengthening the Alliance, but also to do all we can to build a world in which justice and freedom are accessible to all.
Let's help Ukraine in any way we can!
Advisor to the Minister of the Interior in the matters of strategic communication