Swampy terrain poses unique challenge for Estonia's border patrol ({{commentsTotal}})

Swampy terrain along Estonia's eastern border.
Swampy terrain along Estonia's eastern border. Source: ERR

Dozens of kilometers of the temporary border line separating Estonia and Russia in the country's east run through swampy and wet terrain, posing a serious challenge for border patrol. A recently completed test section, however, demonstrates what parts of the border line running through difficult terrain will look like going forward.

"The issue is that, first of all, we cannot ensure speed here," Tamar Tamm, director of the Border Guard Bureau of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) South Prefecture, told ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Wednesday. "The boardwalk here is narrow and long, and you can only move by foot here. [The boards are] wet in rainy conditions and slippery in snowy conditions, so border guards may be prone to accidents here."

Estonia's eastern land border is unique in that border violations occur all along its 136 kilometer length, and its swampy areas are a particular concern in winter, when the ground freezes and it becomes as easily passable as in areas with otherwise more solid ground.

A total of six kilometers of Estonia's eastern land border is considered nearly impassable. In order to understand what infrastructure is appropriate for which type of terrain, two test sections have been constructed, one of which is in a swampy area and where the patrol road has been built to float on plastic floaters.

According to Aimar Köss, senior officer at the PPA's Integrated Border Management Bureau, they have seen a number of different solutions to the issue. "One solution is a path built on plastic floaters," he noted. "One solution is that we create the opportunity to patrol by ATV, on foot and together with service dogs in certain areas. And one solution we definitely see is that in certain areas we deploy various technical monitoring system capabilities in order to ensure a 24/7 overview and our ability to respond in a timely fashion to situations along the border."

The construction project for Estonia's southeastern land border is currently undergoing expert assessment, after which public procurements will be announced for its building.

Editor: Aili Vahtla



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