Arriving with the assistance of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), five Ukrainian border guards began working as observers on Estonia's eastern border on Saturday. The effort aims to contribute to improving cooperation and exchanging best practices in border activities with Ukraine.
The Ukrainian border guards are currently working at the border checkpoints in Narva and Luhamaa, along Estonia's northeastern and southeastern borders, respectively, where they are observing checks being conducted at the Estonian border, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) said in a press release Saturday.
If necessary, Estonian officials can utilize their Ukrainian' colleagues background knowledge about Ukraine, which will also help more clearly determine the journeys behind those arriving from Ukraine, how and where these arrivals want to continue their journey and how the Estonian state can assist them.
Based on additional information verified through Ukrainian officials, Estonian border guards can more quickly decide whether to allow an individual at the border to enter the country as well as provide faster assistance to those who need it.
According to Egert Belichev, director of the PPA's Border Guard Department, the PPA had sought various options through which to involve Ukrainian border guards at Estonia's eastern border, and he was glad that this effort was implemented with the support of Frontex.
"Our border guards and the Frontex officials who help them face a difficult challenge at the eastern border, because every day, they have to distinguish among hundreds of people between those who are actually fleeing war and those who do not have the right to come to Estonia," Belichev said.
"Ukrainian border guards can help us with knowledge and information, the checking of which thus far has required more effort and thus more time," he explained.
The Ukrainian border guards will initially work in Estonia for a period of one month, after which a possible extension will be decided. Costs related to the deployment of Ukrainian border guards to Estonia will be covered by Frontex.
In recent weeks, an average of one hundred Ukrainians a day have arrived in the country via border checkpoints in Narva and Southeastern Estonia, about half of whom are considered to be in transit, the PPA said.
Editor: Aili Vahtla