Interior minister: Closing the border to be decided with neighbors

Lauri Läänemets.
Lauri Läänemets. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Whether Estonia should close its border due to events unfolding in Russia and when needs to be decided together with neighboring countries, Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets said Saturday.

Läänemets told "Aktuaalne kaamera" news that the situation behind Estonia's border is unchanged.

"This means we have seen no direct military threat to Estonia. But naturally we stand ready for various developments. As interior minister, I am referring to the border and whether it remains tight, which I can assure you it does."

People will not be allowed to enter Estonia simply because the situation in Russia is tense.

"Now, should there be people looking to escape Russia for whatever reason, our message remains straightforward. We have laid down sanctions for Russian people, and they cannot move through Estonia and likely the entire Baltic region and Finland. We will not be letting anyone in just because the situation in Russia is tense," the minister explained.

Läänemets said that Estonia has stepped up border control and border guards talk to everyone who arrives at the border.

"We have trained for various scenarios, we are ready to respond to various events or needs," Läänemets said, adding that Estonia can send additional personnel to the border.

"There is no such need at the moment. But we stand ready should it appear."

Estonia's interior minister also said that whether to ramp up border control or close the border altogether will be decided together with allies.

Russian mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has accused Russian armed forces of attacking Wagner rear units and says his units have entered Roston-on-Don. Russian authorities are interpreting these actions as a call for a military coup and have stepped up the readiness of internal military forces. Prigozhin has claimed to control key buildings and the airport in Rostov-on-Don. Wagner has also reported shooting down a Russian military helicopter, while this information has not been confirmed.

On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin in a televised address referred to Prigozhin's actions as a "knife in the back" and said that everyone rising up against the authorities will be punished.

While Wagner troops moved on toward Moscow on Saturday, reaching Lipetsk and Moscow oblasts, Yevgeny Prigozhin said Saturday evening that Wagner has halted its March on Moscow. The mercenary boss said that his fighters will return to their bases to avoid bloodshed.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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