Russian border crossings increased by 15 percent in December

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The border zone on the bridge at Narva, between Estonia and Russia (photo is illustrative). Source: ERR

During December border crossings at the Estonian-Russian border increased by 15 percent compared to the previous month. Politicians discussed suspending movement between the countries but did not make a final decision.

Deputy head of the Narva border checkpoint Anti Eensalu said the 15 percent increase was mostly linked to the New Year holidays and there was a rise in the number of Russian citizens crossing the border.

"Quite a few people have mothers-fathers-children on one side or the other of the border, the majority of visitors are still close relatives. The other part who visit are vital service providers, most of whom are truck drivers," he said.

The majority of people who cross the border are Russian citizens followed by Estonians and people with no citizenship. Ukrainians made up 1.5 percent - 200 people - of people who crossed the border.

There was also an increase in coronavirus cases brought in from Russia in December. In total, there were 108 compared to 63 in November.

The Health Board thinks short-term visits are the riskiest because people do not tend to quarantine. So far, isolated violations have been identified but penalties have not been issued.

At the start of December, Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE) said the government intended to crossings at the border and to only allow commercial vehicles to stop the virus spreading in Ida-Viru County. However, no decision was made and border crossings continued.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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