Russia moves the border with Estonia, the EU reacts

Russian forces removing the buoys

Russian forces removing the buoys

Just a day after the Kremlin brushed off a threat to reset borders in the Baltic Sea, Russian border guards on Friday removed more than 20 buoys [that are placed for border points in water] on the Narva River – the waterway along the Estonian-Russian border.

The European Union has condemned this action as Russia's "provocative behavior" with its neighbors.

"This border incident is part of a wider pattern of hybrid actions by Russia, including maritime and land borders in the Baltic Sea region," EU diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement on Friday.

"The European Union expects an explanation from Russia for the removal of the buoys and their immediate return," said Borrell.

Russia has not yet reacted.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine since February 2022 and has sparked fears in other neighboring countries.

Every spring, Estonia and Russia place buoys in the Narva River to mark the border.

As the riverbed changes over time, the two countries look at the border point every year.

"From 2023, Russia does not agree with Estonian positions regarding the placement of buoys," said Estonian official Eerik Purgel.

This year, Russia reported that it disagrees with the location of approximately half of its 250 border buoys. Estonia deployed the buoys following the state border treaty and the agreement on the deployment of linked buoys between border services in 2022. The first 50 buoys were deployed on May 13 and Russia removed about half of them. 

Estonia has summoned the Russian ambassador to explain what it described as a "provocative border incident".