July 21, 2024

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Warning from the Baltic states regarding the Russian plan to move the maritime borders

Warning from the Baltic states regarding the Russian plan to move the maritime borders

Image source, Finnish Gulf Coast Guard

Comment on the photo, Finland shares a 1,300 km (800 mi) border with Russia, including the Gulf of Finland.

  • author, Paul Kirby
  • Role, BBC News

There were calls for calm in Finland and the Baltic states after a draft Russian decree proposing to review their borders in the Baltic Sea.

Latvia said it was trying to clarify the situation, but Lithuania warned that the Kremlin aimed to intimidate its neighbors through “deliberate and targeted escalatory provocation.”

Finnish President Alexander Stubb said that political leaders were monitoring the situation closely and that Helsinki was “acting as usual: calmly and on the basis of facts.”

The draft decree of the Russian Ministry of Defense proposed moving the maritime borders around the Russian islands in the Gulf of Finland and around the Kaliningrad region.

The decree was first highlighted on Tuesday, when Russia’s TASS news agency and other media reported on its proposal to redraw old borders dating back to the Soviet era in January 1985.

It was not immediately clear whether the draft proposed expanding its borders to Finnish waters in the Baltic Sea or Lithuanian waters near Kaliningrad. However, it would have included territories in the eastern Gulf of Finland, several islands near the Finnish coast and areas near the cities of Baltiysk and Zelenogradsk in Kaliningrad.

Finland’s defense and foreign affairs committees held emergency meetings on Wednesday and Prime Minister Petteri Urbo said the political leadership was “closely monitoring the situation.”

“At the moment, I don’t see any reason for greater concern,” he added.

The Russian proposals were no longer visible on Wednesday, leaving only the message “Draft deleted” on the page. A Russian source later told TASS and other news agencies that there were no plans to review Russian territorial waters in the Baltic Sea.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov referred all inquiries to the Defense Ministry, noting that “there is nothing political here,” while noting that the political situation had changed since the 1980s: “You can see the level of confrontation, especially in the Baltic region.” region.”

Charlie Salonius Pasternak of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs said the Russian plan is clearly trying to look like a bureaucratic and technical exercise.

But it was also a very typical Russian approach of “investigate everywhere, then if you encounter a response, say it’s nothing.”

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Channel

The Russian discoveries also coincided with a wake-up call from the commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, General Michael Biden.

“Putin’s goal is to control the Baltic Sea” He told the German website RND. “The Baltic Sea must not become Putin’s playground where he can terrorize NATO members.”

Sweden joined NATO in March, becoming the alliance’s 32nd member, and has strengthened its military presence on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea over the past two years.

Finland, which joined NATO last year, announced plans to prevent asylum seekers from crossing its eastern border with Russia in large numbers.

Helsinki fears Moscow has plans to “exploit” migration, but the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has warned that the draft law could lead to so-called returns of people with a legitimate right to asylum.