Estonian Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets said on Thursday that Russia had extended a provocative measure, initially aimed at Finland, to Estonia by “deliberately” allowing asylum seekers without visas or residence permits to reach a crossing point on its common border, according to the media Delfi.
“Russia is letting them through for no reason, which means these people are coming to us and we have to address their concerns,” he said. “As they have no reason to enter the European Union, this is obviously an organized and deliberate activity aimed at increasing border activity.”
Läänemets also said that Estonia had so far returned anyone attempting to cross the border without documents or permission, had increased its preparation and was in close communication with Finland and other neighboring countries.
The minister’s assertion follows Finland’s decision on Thursday to completely close four border crossings with Russia from Friday evening until February 2024, after accusing Moscow of pushing undocumented migrants towards the border.
Relations between Russia and Estonia deteriorated after Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, prompting Estonia to expel 21 Russian embassy staff in 2023. Moscow responded by expelling Estonian Ambassador Margus Laidre from Russia.