Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) members have started erecting temporary barbed wire barricades on Estonia's eastern border. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said that the border fence tells Russia that Estonia is guarding its own border and those of the European Union and NATO.
EDF engineers and Defense League squads were in charge of constructing the barricade in Narva.
A dry stretch of the Narva River is considered to be the riskiest section of the eastern border the rest of which is protected by the river and reservoir as natural obstacles. The riverbed is kept dry most of the time and can easily be crossed on foot.
"It is the only section of the Narva River that one can cross on foot when the sluices are closed. As you can see, there are urban areas on both sides and crossing does not take long. It is a matter of running for a few minutes before once can disappear between buildings on the other side. Our goal is to prevent this easy crossing," said Urmas Elmi, head of the boarder guard bureau of the Eastern Prefecture.
The dry riverbed stretches from the reservoir through the Kreenholm industrial area to the hydroelectric plant. Border guards on both sides have done a good job of guarding the sector so far, with only three illegal crossings this year.
"These have seen wanted criminals escape to Russia, people with mental illness, as well as those under the influence of alcohol," Elmi said.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that while there is no direct threat against the Estonian border today, experience of neighbors is cause for vigilance.
"What is currently happening in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia… While there is no such pressure on our borders right now, there are no barriers here and erecting temporary ones will help us manage risks. It will also work as deterrence," the PM said.
Kallas said that border barricades will send Russia the signal that Estonia is guarding its own border, as well as those of the European Union and NATO.
A barbed wire fence stretching 2.5 kilometers will be installed in the dry bed of the Narva River in the course of a reserve training exercise.
Editor: Marcus Turovski