At Koidula, Luhamaa border crossings with Russia waiting time several days

Koidula border crossing point.
Koidula border crossing point. Source: Mirjam Mõttus/ERR

People must wait for several days at the Koidula and Luhamaa border crossings as a result of changes to border control on the Russian side.

Cars at the Koidula border crossing have waited for 12, 16 or even 24 hours.

By Wednesday afternoon, Mait was among those who had waited at the border transfer point for nearly 24 hours. "I came here yesterday (Tuesday - ed.) at the same time. If I could pass by tomorrow morning, that would be good," he said.

Some travelers knew it was going to take a while and took food and drink with them. "Of course, we didn't count on one day. We took something to eat and drink. I don't know if it will be enough," Tatyana said.

Peter Maran, head of the south-eastern border crossing, said Russia changed its control procedures in May, making border checks with Russia significantly more time-consuming, particularly for ordinary citizens traveling by car.

He said between 15 and 40 cars cross the border daily, while historically it was about 25 cars per hours.

"According to the information we have, the checks of Ukrainian and Moldovan citizens in Russia last longer than those of other citizens, simply because they are subject to more thorough checks and interviews," Maran said.

The situation at the Luhamaa border crossing is even more critical.

"As far as I am aware, the current waiting time in Luhamaa is about three days, while in Koidula it is a little shorter. The neighbor's (Russia's - ed.) actions are unpredictable," Maran said.

"Many of those who cross the border do so with their children; we have a significant number of elderly and sick people. In the past few weeks, we have repeatedly dispatched an ambulance to the Luhamaal border post for feeling sick persons. Everyone has a valid reason to cross the border quicker, so we cannot allow people to cut in front of the line," he said.

According to Maran, people are still remarkably calm and patient.

Location of the Koidula and Luhamaa border checkpoints, in southeastern Estonia. Source: Google Maps


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Editor: Marko Tooming, Kristina Kersa

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