Estonia to spend €2mn more on Russia border region
Iran Press TV
Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:42AM
The Estonian government plans to spend another two million Euros (USD 2.27 million) on its border region with neighboring Russia.
'The extra funds will be spent on installing border pillars, engineering the ground of the border, developing software for surveillance systems, planning patrol paths along the River Narva and doing other works,' Russia's Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed source in Estonia's Interior Ministry as saying on Friday.
Meanwhile, Estonia's interior minister said the country will press ahead with its border fortification plans.
'Today's decision of the government sends a clear message that the border development will continue this year,' Hanno Pevkur pointed out.
According to reports, Estonia is poised to spend around four million Euros (USD 4.52 million) this year to fortify its border with Russia.
Russia's 'pressure' on the Baltics
Estonia's decision came a day after UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon accused the Moscow leadership of seeking to destabilize the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
'I'm worried about (Russian President Vladimir) Putin … I'm worried about his pressure on the Baltics, the way he is testing NATO. NATO has to be ready for any kind of aggression from Russia whatever form it takes,' he stated.
Moscow rejected Fallon's allegation, saying the real risk comes from NATO's increased activity.
'The comments of Mr. Fallon of course are already beyond diplomatic ethics and the characterization of Russia is completely intolerable,' Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, said.
Back in December 2014, Estonia accused Moscow of violating its airspace.
'We've seen large-scale movements in the air … We've seen long-range strategic bombers flying, which are not usual visitors in our region. Those moves are unnecessarily provocative," said Estonian Defense Minister Sven Mikser.
Mikser warned Moscow that any aggression against Estonia or any other member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will provoke "an immediate and decisive response."
Source of conflict
NATO-Moscow relations have been extremely tense in recent months. NATO and Kiev accuse the Kremlin of supporting pro-Russia forces in east Ukraine. Russia categorically denies the allegations, saying NATO is responsible for the flare-up in Ukraine.
The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia protesters and the Ukrainian army since Kiev's military operation started in April 2014 in a bid to crush the protests.
Violence intensified in May 2014 after the two flashpoint regions held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.
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