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Latvia budgets over $10 million to strengthen border with Russia, Belarus

by Elsa Court June 18, 2024 7:43 PM 2 min read
"Stop - state border" is written in three languages on a sign on the Latvian border with Russia on June 18, 2024. (Alexander Welscher/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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The Latvian government has allocated 10 million euros ($10.7 million) from the state budget's contingency funds to reinforce defenses on the country's eastern border, Latvia's Defense Ministry reported on June 18.

Latvia shares a border stretching 283 kilometers (175 miles) with Russia, while the border between Latvia and Belarus border is 173 kilometers (107 miles) long.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has sparked concerns that the Baltic states, which are among Kyiv's staunchest allies and often face threats by the Kremlin, could become the next target of Russia's aggression.

The strengthening of the eastern border "is part of the creation of the Baltic Defense Line, which will include the creation of support points for the National Armed Forces units along the entire Russian-Belarusian border," Latvia's Defense Ministry said.

Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia announced plans for the Baltic Defense Line in January, to strengthen the region's defenses in case of an attack from Belarus or Russia.

"Russia's war in Ukraine has shown that, in addition to equipment, ammunition, and manpower, we also need physical defenses on the border from the first meter," Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said in January.

Plans for the defenses in Latvia align with NATO's defense plans and will include fortified defensive positions, anti-mobility installations, anti-tank ditches, and mine depots, Latvia's Defense Ministry said.

"The Baltic Defense Line will significantly strengthen the capabilities of the Baltic States to militarily protect their borders and delay Russia's ability to conduct rapid military operations," the Defense Ministry added.

Latvia's Defense Ministry said it "has been carrying out practical work on strengthening the eastern border since March of this year," and plans to invest 303 million euros in the project over the next five years.

Baltic states to disconnect from joint Russian power grid in February 2025
The Baltic nations initially aimed to join the European system by the end of 2025. However, following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, they advanced the timeline by nearly a year.

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