Fact Check: NO Evidence Latvian Special Services Are Recruiting Tourists On The Border With Belarus

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  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: NO Evidence Latvian Special Services Are Recruiting Tourists On The Border With Belarus Denied

Are Latvian special services recruiting tourists on the border with Belarus? Did the Latvian Security forces attempt to recruit a man who was heading to Belarus at the Latvian border checkpoint "Pāternieki"? No, that's not true: The Latvian Foreign Ministry told Lead Stories it was disinformation. Furthermore, Lead Stories found no evidence supporting the assertion that the Latvian special services have been recruiting tourists on the border with Belarus.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on the TikTok account @sotniktiktok on November 29, 2023. It was also shared by the accounts @viktoria.super91 (archived here), and @ctv_by (archived here). Belarus media outlets have disseminated this assertion, such as here, here, and here.

The text overlay on the video (translated from Russian to English by Lead Stories staff) states:

Latvian special services are recruiting tourists on the border with Belarus. Democratic Europe comes up with various schemes to interfere in the internal affairs of Belarus, recruiting tourists. At the Latvian border checkpoint "Pāternieki" security forces attempted to recruit a man who was heading to Belarus. After refusing to cooperate, he had to flee to Belarus, leaving behind his car and personal belongings. An investigation is underway into the incident.

Below is how the post appeared on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-12-05 at 11.21.39.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Dec 5 11:21: 39 2023 UTC)

As purported evidence, social media users and Belarus media have shared a video (archived here) depicting a man running away from another man at what seems to be a border crossing point. On November 30, 2023, this video (archived here) was also posted on the official TikTok account of the State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus, accompanied by the assertion that Latvian security forces attempted to recruit a man heading to Belarus at the Latvian border checkpoint "Pāternieki." Lead Stories found the authenticity of this video has not been independently verified, and it fails to provide any substantiating evidence for the disseminated claim.

Additionally, as alleged evidence, they have presented excerpts from the interview (archived here) with an unnamed man who alleges that, at the Latvian border, he was subjected to threats in an attempt to coerce him into working for Latvian special services. Additionally, he claims that they threatened to revoke his Swedish residence permit if he refused. The videos and articles on this matter do not disclose the man's name or surname. A reverse image search (archived here) conducted on December 5, 2023, did not reveal this man's name or surname.

Lead Stories found no credible evidence that the Latvian special services have been recruiting tourists on the border with Belarus or that security forces have attempted to recruit a man heading to Belarus at the Latvian border checkpoint. A search for the phrases "Latvian special services are recruiting tourists on the border with Belarus" (archived here) and "Latvian special forces attempted to recruit a man heading to Belarus at the border checkpoint "Pāternieki" (archived here) conducted on December 5, 2023, using Google News' index of thousands of credible news sites, did not reveal any evidence-based reports on these claims.

On December 1, 2023, the Latvian Foreign Ministry responded to Lead Stories's inquiry regarding this claim and the disseminated videos. They wrote by email:

"The Latvian State Border Guard, in cooperation with other services, has been carrying out more thorough background checks on immigrants at the border of Latvia with Russia and its ally Belarus since the Russian invasion of Ukraine to identify persons who may pose a threat to Latvia's national security interests. The Russian and Belarusian propaganda resources seek to discredit, regularly, the Latvian State border Guard, the national security authorities, and the border control procedure, by spreading disinformation."

Lead Stories reached out to the Latvian State Border Guard for a comment and will also update this article if a response is received.


  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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