Construction of a temporary barrier at the eastern border in Narva and South Estonia begins today

On Saturday, 20 November, the construction of temporary border barriers will begin in the first sections at the Kuivajõe riverbed in Narva, at Meremäe in South-Eastern Estonia, and on the banks of the River Piusa. The work is carried out by the Defence Forces in cooperation with the officials of the Police and Border Guard Board (PBGB).

According to Urmas Elmi, Head of the Operational Staff of the East Prefecture, the Estonian-Russian border in Ida-Viru County is largely protected by a natural water barrier. "Therefore, police officers and members of the Defence Forces are today reinforcing the only dry section of the former Narva riverbed, where the risk of illegal border crossings is the highest. Work began this morning at around 9 am and will continue until daylight fades. The Defence Forces are going to work on this section for two days," said Elmi.

According to Vallo Koppel, Head of the Operational Staff of the South Prefecture, the main task of the police early this morning was to instruct all the reservists heading towards the border strip. "We gave them a thorough briefing, so that they would have the confidence and knowledge of how to install the razor wire on the border strip without crossing the border intentionally or unintentionally. Barrier installation has now started near the village of Vinski, but also in Koidula, which has been used for both illegal border crossings and smuggling. Preparations and cooperation with the Defence Forces are now well underway and work at the border is ongoing," noted Koppel.

According to Egert Belitšev, Deputy Director General of the PBGB for Border Management, this exercise conducted during the additional reservist training will provide valuable experience in border protection. "Only through action will we know the joint capability of the Defence Forces and the Police and Border Guard Board to erect temporary barriers at the border, as well as what kind of logistical support and human resources are needed. At the moment there is no increase in migratory pressure in Estonia, but if this were to change, swift installation of temporary barriers will be an essential component in the prevention of illegal mass immigration and in the overall border protection operation," said Belitšev.

The PBGB has mapped up to ten sections where a barrier of up to 40 kilometres can be built with the help of reservists and 120 kilometres of razor wire provided by the Defence Forces. One of those mapped sections is in Narva, and the rest are at the land border in South-Eastern Estonia. Construction will begin in the highest priority sections, where the risk of illegal border crossings is the greatest.

As the construction is taking place in a border area where movement is governed by specific rules, the reservists and members of the Defence League are accompanied by border guards.

From today until 25 November, there will be more vehicles of the Defence Forces on the roads near the border, as well as more police officers and border guards than usual. Until 26 November, flight restrictions apply to both manned and unmanned aircraft along the eastern border.