Personnel from the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) apprehended three foreign citizens who had apparently entered Estonia without the correct documentation near a border crossing in Võru County, south-eastern Estonia, on Saturday, it is reported. The three, all men, stated that they were Egyptian nationals.
The apprehension and subsequent detention of the men followed a call made at 10.00 EEST. on Saturday to a PPA post, by a person claiming that they had noticed three men on a village road near the border and acting in a way which they viewed as suspicious, a PPA spokesperson said.
One of the apprehended men required medial assistance after stating he was feeling unwell; medical personnel determined that the men had suffered slight hypothermia, but did not require hospitalization. They were then taken to a PPA detention centre in the nearby town of Võru for initial investigative procedures.
The men who as noted said they were Egyptian citizens, ranged between 25 and 30 years of age and they allegedly did not know which state they had entered.
All details concerning the circumstances surrounding the three men's arrival in Estonia will be determined by further investigation, it is reported.
World Cup reportedly putting pressure on Estonia's eastern border
Valmar Hinno, head of the Piusa PPA base in Võru County, said that "the forecast for the near future indicates that the pressure on the border may increase even further, as in relation to the football World Cup, thousands of people have come to Russia, who may try to gain illegal access to Europe by claiming to be football fans."
Mr. Hinno added that pressure on Estonia's external EU border, often called a 'green border' due to the preponderance of forest and other natural environments and corresponding inadequate border markings, which often make its precise delineation unclear, as compared with the EU/Schengen border with Latvia to the south which is both more clearly marked and not a 'hard' border, has increased in recent weeks. Several incidents involving third country nationals holding World Cup passes and similar have been reported by the PPA since the finals in Russia started one month ago.
Nonetheless the number of such crossings in the south-eastern portion of the country have fallen. Eleven illegal border crossing incidents were reported on the south-eastern Estonian-Russian border so far this year; the number stood at 18 this time last year.
Editor: Andrew Whyte