Russian team inspecting Estonian military terrain under OCSE agreement

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

Personnel from the Russian Federation have begun an inspection of a military area in Estonia, under the terms of an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) agreement.

The inspection started Monday and continues through to Friday, during which time inspectors from the Russian Federation will be visiting training areas and facilities, receive briefings on military activity and on units within the area under inspection, which covers, a one-hectare area of land.

The inspection takes place within the framework of the Vienna Document, a 2011 initiative aimed at strengthening security among OSCE countries.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a press release that: "From May 31 to June 3, in accordance with the Vienna Document 2011 on confidence- and security-building measures, a Russian team of specialists is carrying out an inspection of the specified area in Estonia."

The aims of the inspection are to determine the scale of military activities carried out within the specified area, subject to prior notification, BNS reports.

Since the 2014 annexation of Crimea and ongoing insurgency war in eastern Ukraine since that time, concerns have been raised about the Vienna Document's relevance. Notable uses of the Vienna Document by Russian Federation include the presence of their inspectors at a 2015 NATO exercise off the coast of Scotland.

OSCE members include the U.S. and Canada as well as virtually every European nation, including Estonia and Russia.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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