State Forest Management Center to Clear Brush Along Russian Border ({{commentsTotal}})

Brush clearing will be the first and most important step in readying the currently still de facto border between Estonia and Russia for full infrastructure development, under an agreement reached by three ministers.

Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, Interior Minister Hanno Pevkur and Environment Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus agreed late last week that the State Forest Management Center would perform the work.

"The state of the border in the natural surroundings needs to be improved," said Rõivas. "Increasing the security of the border and ensuring national security are a priority for the government.

Pevkur said 200,000 euros had been appropriated for brush clearing and improving border guard equipment this summer, and 2 million euros is being channeled into reinforcing the border - night vision cameras, border guard weapons and personal protection devices.

Rõivas, Pevkur and Police and Border Guard head Elmar Vaher will tour the southeastern border on Tuesday.

The increased attention on the border comes after an Estonian counterintelligence agent was said to have been kidnapped along a overgrown forested stretch of the border, which is not yet regulated by ratified treaty.