NewsEstonia's stern warning: avoid traveling to Russia amid border tensions

Estonia's stern warning: avoid traveling to Russia amid border tensions

The Raja-Joosepi border crossing between Finland and Russia.
The Raja-Joosepi border crossing between Finland and Russia.
Images source: © PAP | TOMI HANNINEN
ed. MCZ
10:27 AM EST, November 30, 2023

Estonia vehemently advises its citizens and residents against travelling to Russia. Margus Tsahkna, the head of Estonia's foreign ministry, firmly stated that if the decision is taken to close the borders, "it would be impossible to return to the country".

Tsahkna spotlighted Russia's practices such as spreading false possibilities of reaching the European Union via Finland and aiding immigrants in reaching the border proximity.

Strong Advice against Travel to Russia

The top diplomat of Estonia views these actions as manipulative ploys with innocent people who pay for travel as mere game pieces. He highlighted the inhumanity of such practices given the severe winter conditions prevalent currently.

Tsahkna confirmed that Estonia stands ready to extend any practical support to Finland and if necessary, close its own borders with Russia. - Therefore, my advice is fiercely clear; avoid travelling to Russia at all costs - he emphatically stated.

Finland Shuts Down the Border

The checkpoints at the Finnish-Russian border in Lapland, which were previously open, came down on Wednesday. In place of the barriers, concrete blocks and barbed wire were erected. The decision to seal the entire eastern border was reached by the Finnish government just a day before, on Tuesday.

The decision was driven by what the authorities view as a "threat to national security" due to Russia's "hybrid operation". The operation involves directing a significant influx of illegal immigrants from the Middle East and North East Africa towards Finland and then onwards to the EU.

Eve Kalmus, the head of Border Management Department of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), acknowledged on Thursday that "it is already visibly clear that movement across the Estonian-Russian border has intensified". She further added that "for Estonia, this is a migration onslaught and the closure of Finnish border crossings will definitely affect us."

In preparation for the possible influx of illegal immigrants and potential border closure, 25 concrete barriers have been erected on the bridge that connects Narva with Russia. Estonian authorities have expressed concerns about Russia's "hybrid attacks," but reiterate their preparedness for such scenarios.

"The Russian border service is permitting citizens from third countries without necessary travel documents to attempt to infiltrate Estonia, sparking a perception of a coordinated and calculated assault on the European Union," said Estonian President Alar Karis.

Border Fence Construction

The Estonia-Russia border runs a length of 207.5 miles on land, along rivers, and 78.4 miles around three interconnected lakes. The border has seven crossing points including pedestrian, automotive, and railway crossings.

Since the onset of the migration crisis at the Belarusian-EU border in 2021, construction of a border fence and modernization of infrastructure has commenced. The aim is to extend the barrier to cover the entire land border with Russia.

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