Committee proposes temporary barrier on eastern border

Russian-Estonian border in south Estonia.
Russian-Estonian border in south Estonia. Source: Leevi Lillemäe/ERR

In order to protect the external border of the EU and NATO and prevent a potential hybrid attack, the government's security committee decided to submit a proposal to the government for partial temporary reinforcement of the eastern border of Estonia with a razor wire barrier.

At a sitting on Monday, the security committee discussed the security situation in relation to the Belarus hybrid attack against the EU and the NATO. The committee found that securing Estonia's eastern border should be reinforced with a temporary barrier to avoid a potential hybrid attack.

The government will be discussing the measures required for this purpose on Thursday, 18 November.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said the situation on the borders of Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia is serious. "The Estonian border is currently not directly under threat, however, considering what is happening in nearby countries, we must also be prepared to combat the threat. Estonia has been consistently reinforcing its external border and installation of the new barrier is part of the plan," Kallas said.

The prime minister added that Poland, Lithuania and Latvia have acted with determination on their borders and Estonia will help its neighbors in dealing with the situation.

"Poland has currently indicated that they primarily need solidarity and political support. We are in close communication with Poland and are prepared to support them in every way. We support adoption of additional European Union sanctions against those natural and legal persons who support the activity of the Belarus regime in executing the hybrid attack," Kallas said.

Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani said the Estonian border is well-guarded and there is currently on risk of migration. "In order to cope well with any potential crisis situations, however, those situations must be prepared for before they arise. Thus, the Police and Border Guard Board has the capability and preparedness required for supporting the construction of the border fence by erecting temporary barriers in cooperation with the Defence Forces," Jaani said.

"We are planning to erect the temporary barriers in places with the highest number of unlawful border crossings or border crossing attempts based on the current experience," the interior minister noted.

He added that the border is currently being guarded with the aid of technical monitoring equipment and patrols. "In total, we would need infrastructure for 115 kilometres. The construction of 63 kilometres is covered with construction contracts, of which 25 kilometres are equipped with a barrier fence. We have accelerated our next steps in building the border infrastructure," Jaani added.

Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet confirmed that Estonia is in contact with its allies on a daily basis to coordinate activities in the event of escalation. "We have been carefully monitoring the situation from the beginning of the hybrid attack and contributed to solving the situation by sending barrier wire, unmanned aircraft crews, as well as a military police team to Lithuania on the latest occasion," Laanet said.

Russian-Estonian border in south Estonia. Source: Leevi Lillemäe/ERR


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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