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Estonia on Brink of Border Closure with Russia: Escalating Tensions in the Baltic Region

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Estonia may close its border entirely with Russia in the coming days, with the country’s Foreign Minister, Margus Tsahkna, calling on its citizens not to travel across its eastern border with Russia.

Similar measures have been taken recently by Russia’s neighbouring country Finland.

According to local media reports, 30 migrants, mainly from Somalia and Syria, were unsuccessful in their attempt to reach Estonia via Russia, based on a report of InfoMigrants.

The Foreign Minister of Estonia said that Moscow is attempting to weaken Estonia by orchestrating a trend in which migrants are involved, emphasizing that Tallinn is ready to close its border with Russia and protect his country from any hybrid attacks.

Tsahkna considered the increase in the number of irregular migrants reaching Estonia and Finland as a hybrid attack operation aimed at undermining security.

As part of efforts to better protect the country, Finland recently announced that it decided to close Raja-Jooseppi border crossing point with Russia, which was the only crossing point available for movement since November 24.

Authorities in Finland decided to close the border crossing points of Kuusamo, Salla, and Vartius for all persons on November 24, while the measure will remain effective until December 23 this year.

Besides, Helsinki recently shut down the Nuijamaa, Vaalimaa, Imatra, as well as Niirala crossing points.

Finland’s decision came during an extraordinary session held on November 28. Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said that Finland wants to end the instrumentalisation of people.

Russia is enabling the instrumentalisation of people and guiding them to the Finnish border in harsh winter conditions. Finland is determined to put an end to this phenomenon.

Petteri Orpo

Recently, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex revealed that it deployed 50 border guard officers, additional personnel as well as a fleet of patrol cars for border control in Finland.

The new changes came at a time when Finland closed all but one border crossing point with Russia, as a result of an increased number of irregular migrants.

Besides, Frontex revealed that in the first ten months of this year, a total of 331,600 irregular border crossing attempts were registered in the EU’s external borders. The statistics indicated an 18 per cent increase in the number of irregular border crossing detections compared to the data from the same period last year.

The war between Israel and Hamas, together with irregular border crossing attempts, led several countries to reinstate border controls as part of efforts to enhance the country’s protection.

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