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€16 million needed to repair Estonian border security gaps

A Police and Boarder Guard Board guard by the Narva River.
A Police and Boarder Guard Board guard by the Narva River. Source: ERR

It will take at least two years and €16 million to fix the security gaps along the Narva River, the Police and Boarder Guard Board (PPA) have said.

Part of the Estonian-Russian border runs along the Narva River and there is a lack of surveillance equipment and border guards cannot react quickly enough to violations in several places.

There are two difficult places near Vasknarva where the PPA is hindered by swampy, unstable river banks and an indirect route.

"We see everything in this place, there are eyes, but the biggest problem is time," said Roland Heinsoo, the PPA's field manager, told ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Wednesday.

Scarcity of equipment also means about a third of the river is unmonitored by the PPA's radars. Several years ago a new radar was installed which gave a better overview of the situation.

PPA Director General Elmar Vaher told AK: "We saw border violators who had probably acted there before. It was mainly people who are fishermen, but if those fishermen were honest and good fishermen... well, our researchers know that. Getting an overview of the border situation is the most important goal."

Vaher said the state has allocated €16 million in funding to fix the existing security gaps and create new Infrastructure for the first time in a decade. Fourteen new radars are needed as well as observation posts and bridges.

"Procurement is underway, we are optimistic that we will be ready to build in a couple of years," he said.

Plans to fix border security gaps were put in place after the migrant crisis on the Lithuanian, Polish and Latvian borders.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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