Over 400 cars and other private vehicles were waiting in Narva to cross Estonia's eastern border into Russia as of Monday, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reported, with wait times of over 24 hours seen in many cases.
The reason for the backlog this time is stricter controls put in place by authorities on the Russian side of the border.
On the other hand, booking a border crossing time-slot from the Estonian side in advance is one way to minimize delays.
Not only are Estonian residents traveling to Russia via Narva, but also people from further afield, including from the war-torn Donetsk region, fleeing the conflict to their relatives living in Russia, but via Estonia.
Border crossings via Lithuania and Latvia are even more difficult, AK reported.
One man who had come from Bakhmut, on the front line, told AK that: "I think it's good here. At other border points, people stand around for seven days. I was told at one border point that 60 cars can pass through in a week. But I can't wait around, I have an 86-year-old, sick mother in the car with me. I registered yesterday and I have seven more hours left to wait at the border."
The eestipiir.ee website put the figure at over 400 vehicles waiting at the border crossing as of Monday.
At the same time, not that many vehicles were observed parked and waiting in line – many waiting to cross the border stay in nearby hotels, or the waiting area.
One way to speed up the process greatly is via advance booking, AK reported.
Narva resident Irina told AK that: "I've literally only been waiting here for an hour and a half. I was informed via text message that the waiting time has been extended by an hour, so now I'm just waiting."
While the summer season generally sees the number of people wanting to cross the border down by a third, Russia has tightened its border controls, so whereas previously, around 250 vehicles left Estonia per day, that figure has been halved.
Marek Liiva, who heads up Estonia's Narva border crossing point, told AK that: "If everyone wants to cross the border at the same time, well unfortunately that is not viable," adding that all is being done to try to minimize the effects of wait lines arising from Russian Federation border guard actions.
At the moment, due to the work of the border guard of the Russian Federation,
The PPA recommends that travelers to Russia going by private car book their border crossing time in advance via the eestipiir site, and follow notifications, which can be obtained via text message, while in the waiting area.
Narva also has a pedestrian border crossing, separate from the vehicle checkpoint.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael
Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera', reporter Jüri Nikolajev.