Tensions Rise as Russia Removes Buoys along Estonia's River Border

Russia | May 25, 2024, Saturday // 13:12|  views

The European Union has strongly condemned Russia's unilateral demarcation of the river border with Estonia, labeling it as "unacceptable" and urging Moscow to provide an explanation for its actions. The Estonian authorities have characterized the incident as yet another provocative move by Russia and have summoned the Russian ambassador in response.

Narva, often regarded as a unique locale, hosts approximately 60,000 residents, with 97 percent of them being Russian speakers. Despite its cultural composition, Narva holds strategic significance as the easternmost point of NATO's Eastern Flank. Situated along the river that shares its name, Narva stands as a critical frontier between Estonia and Russia. Military analysts have highlighted the city as a potential starting point for any Russian aggression against the Baltic states.

In recent times, the Narva region has witnessed numerous provocations from Russia, with the latest being the removal of several restriction buoys along the river.

Egert Belitšev, the director of Border Police in Estonia, expressed concern over this latest incident, branding it as yet another Russian provocation. Despite the provocative action, Estonian authorities refrained from physically intervening.

Traditionally, both Estonia and Russia place buoys along the river each spring, with adjustments made annually to accommodate changes in the Narva riverbed. However, disagreements have arisen since 2023, with Russia disputing the placement of the buoys. On May 13, Estonia installed the initial 50 buoys out of a planned total of 250, only to have half of them removed by Russian border guards on Thursday night.

Belitšev warned Estonians to exercise caution until the missing buoys are restored, highlighting the potential risk to fishermen inadvertently straying into Russian waters.

Earlier in the week, Russia's Ministry of Defense published a draft law proposing changes to maritime borders with Finland and Lithuania, slated to take effect from January 2025. However, the announcement was later removed from the ministry's website, adding further uncertainty to the situation.

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Tags: estona, Russia, border, provocation


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