Border guard: Pressure on Estonia will increase if Russia shuts borders

Egert Belitšev
Egert Belitšev Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Egert Belitšev, head of the border guard department of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), believes that, if and when, Russia closes its borders to prevent mobilized men living in nearby regions from leaving the country, this will create additional pressure on Estonia's borders.

"If mass mobilizations take place in our neighborhood, for example in Pskov and St Petersburg, and people want to avoid it, it is likely that the pressure (on our borders) will increase," Belitšev told ERR on Tuesday.

According to Belitšev, a lot will also depend on whether Russia sends more troops to the border to prevent illegal crossings and the departure from the country of men who have been mobilized.

"There are a lot of factors, but it is likely that if one or the other of them materializes, pressure on the border will increase," Belitšev said.

Belitšev said that there have already been cases of Russian citizens crossing the border to escape mobilization.

"A man came across the Narva Bay near Narva-Jõesuu. After being caught, he said he could not go back to Russia because he was afraid of mobilization," explained Belitšev.

According to Belitšev, Estonia has plans in place to deal with the increased pressure that may result from the increased desire of Russian citizens to migrate across the border.

"We have been practicing for this for quite a long time. We have emergency plans [to cope with] mass immigration. We, along with our partners, have extremely detailed implementation plans. And now, within the framework of different exercises, including the recent major exercise "Müür" we have been practicing ways to deal with different aspects [of the issue]," Belitšev said.

Müür focused on potential responses should Estonia face a cross-border attack from a hostile neighbor, while, at the same time, large numbers of people want to illegally cross the country's eastern border.

"How ready we are will always depend on how big these waves [of migration] are. You also have to bear in mind, that if Estonia comes under massive immigration pressure, successfully resolving the crisis will mean the whole country making an effort to that end," he added.


Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Michael Cole

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: