Interior ministry wants to widen eastern border zone

Estonia's eastern border in Southeastern Estonia. May 10, 2022.
Estonia's eastern border in Southeastern Estonia. May 10, 2022. Source: Mirjam Mõttus/ERR

The Ministry of Internal Affairs aims to change the width of the border strip of the eastern border, with the no-go zone widened from the current 10 meters to 300 meter in places.

The need for a wider border strip was created when eastern border infrastructure construction started, Janek Mägi, head of the ministry's border guard and migration policy department, said.

"We realized that existing regulation made it difficult to guard the border well, fitting all the required infrastructure on a ten-meter-wide strip, complete with patrol roads and listening posts – it was no longer possible, which was immediately clear," Mägi told ERR.

"Because it has been a long process, as we could not lay down the strip before the border project was finished in terms of how it will be developed, where it will run, the elements it would have and the necessary land acquisition – all of it took time. But eventually, once the border is finished, the strip will be laid down, and it will all form a logical whole."

While the border naturally winds this way and that, the strip will render it straight to make it clearer to people where they must not venture.

The border strip has been straightened to make it easier to guard, which is why it can be 100 meters wide in some places and just 30 meters in others, Mägi explained.

"What's important for us is for surveillance equipment and cameras to have optimal field of view. Having the border wind and go around bends would require many more times the number of such devices. I believe that nothing will change for people, and having the border clearly marked out lets people know where they mustn't go."


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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