24 May 2024

Estonia: Border Guards Report Russian Removal of Navigation Buoys

Since its National Awakening, Estonia has been independent for a total of 55 years. Most of its slavery was under the Russians. No wonder they're worried. 

From The European Conservative

By Graham Barnfield

PM critical of incursion, hinting at Putin’s imperial ambitions.

In what Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas calls a “border incident,” it was claimed that Russia has removed navigation buoys from close to the two countries’ shared border.

Estonian border guards said on Thursday that Russian operatives had removed almost half of a total of 50 navigation buoys, recently placed on the Estonian side of the Narva River. The objects are positioned on the border river to direct ships away from foreign waters. 

This episode follows hastily altered reports of Russian proposals to redraw its maritime borders in the Baltic Sea. The plans, contained within a draft Defence Ministry document that was linked to briefly online, prompted concern among diplomats in the three Baltic countries, as well as Finland and Sweden—and likely further afield. 

The Estonian authorities claim that Russia has contested the positioning of the buoys since its 2022 invasion of Ukraine began. 

According to Kallas, “Russia uses tools related to the border to create fear and anxiety, with which to sow insecurity in our societies. We see a broader pattern of this.”

It is not yet clear how, or even if, the removal of buoys is a deliberate part of any Moscow ambition to revise or extend its Baltic Sea borders.

The river Narva links runs from a lake between Russia and Estonia to the Gulf of Finland. At the time of publication, Russia has yet to respond to specific Estonian government enquiries.

However, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that Russia’s Baltic Sea borders should be in accordance with international law. Any Defence Ministry activity on the border was of a purely technical character, she asserted (i.e. it reflects natural changes to riverbed formation).

Pictured: Narva Castle and Ivangorod Fortress on either side of the Russia-Estonia border on the Narva River 
Photo: Radosław Botev, CC BY 3.0 PL, via Wikimedia Commons

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