Has Russia removed buoys from the Estonian border river Narva?

As of: May 23, 2024 9:32 p.m

Most recently, Russian plans to move the border in the Baltic Sea caused unrest. Now the authorities in Estonia are reporting that several navigation buoys have been removed from a border river – by Russian officials.

They were said to have been placed ten days ago – now they have disappeared. Several floating buoys used to mark shipping routes have apparently been removed from the Narva River on the border between Estonia and Russia.

Estonia blames the border guards of its neighbouring country. Russian officials are said to have removed 24 of 50 buoys from the water on Thursday night. Now the authorities in Tallinn are demanding that Russia provide an explanation and return the buoys.

Rising tensions

The Narva River marks the eastern external border of the EU and NATO. The accusations come at a time of increasing tensions between Russia and the West. Just on Wednesday, a Russian bill to potentially redefine its maritime borders in the Baltic Sea caused confusion – and above all, great excitement.

According to information from Estonia, the installation of the buoys in Narva was agreed bilaterally years ago. However, since the start of the war of aggression against Ukraine, the Russian side has not agreed with the locations of about half of the 250 markers that are always set up during the shipping season – including some of the buoys that have now been removed.

“Another act of provocation”

Estonia’s border guard chief Egert Belitsev spoke of a “further act of provocation by Russia”. “We are convinced that the buoys were where they should be,” he said, according to a report by Estonian radio. Nevertheless, the border guard did not actively prevent the buoys from being removed in order to prevent the situation from escalating.

“We use diplomatic means to deal with such situations,” he said. Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas spoke of a border incident whose exact circumstances needed to be clarified. “We will approach this case in a sober and balanced manner and communicate with allies as necessary. We are seeing a broader pattern of Russia trying to sow fear with its actions,” she said.

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