On 30 May 2019 VDD will hold the counterterrorism exercise "Pūlis 2019" in Riga. During the exercise the state institutions involved in the implementation of the counterterrorism measures will test and improve their reaction capabilities in the case of a terrorist attack.
The most often experienced terrorist attack in Europe – steering a vehicle into the crowd at a mass gathering site – will be imitated during the exercise. The location of the exercise was chosen to correspond to such scenario.
"The terrorism threat level in Latvia is low, and the information at VDD’s disposal does not indicate it rising in the nearest future. However we cannot ignore the terrorist attacks taken place in other European countries and the elevated terrorism threat level. We have to be ready to react in case the terrorism threat is directed towards our country", the Director of VDD Mr. Normunds Mežviets explained the aim of the exercise.
VDD assesses that currently the most important risk throughout Europe is the terrorist organisations’ propaganda materials that are easily available online. These materials contain not only the radical ideology, but also instructions for carrying out various terrorist attacks. Attacks targeting mass gathering sites, e.g., by crashing a vehicle into the crowd, is one of the methods used. VDD forecasts that this trend will remain popular due to restrictions on, e.g., explosives precursors’ circulation rules within the EU, which render it more difficult to purchase the necessary substances to make an explosive.
The exercise will gather representatives of VDD, National Armed Forces, State Emergency Medical Service, State Fire and Rescue Service, State Police, State Border Guard, Prosecutor General’s Office, Riga Municipal Police, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In total there will be more than 300 persons engaged in the exercise together with observers from Lithuania and Estonia.
In cooperation with other institutions involved in the implementation of the counterterrorism measures VDD regularly holds counterterrorism exercises of various scales. During these exercises the reaction capabilities towards various terrorist attacks and interinstitutional cooperation is being tested. The conclusions drawn from the exercises allow to improve the action mechanisms and cooperation procedures to ensure the best possible reaction preparedness of the institutions engaged in the implementation of the counterterrorism measures. VDD has been holding full-scale counterterrorism exercises since 2007, this year’s exercise being the 10th counterterrorism exercise.
No traffic restrictions are foreseen during the exercise, while pedestrian routes will be deviated.
Information was prepared by VDD