Baltic countries refuse to join border guard exercises with Russia

  • 2015-04-24
  • from wire reports and TBT staff, TALLINN

All three Baltic countries have refused to participate in joint border guard exercises with Russia, according to the Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR).

Estonian Interior Minister Hanno Pevku claimed that the exercise is being coordinated and organised by organisations directly linked to the abduction of Estonian Security Police official Eston Kohver from Estonian territory in September of last year. Kohver remains in prison in Moscow.

Martin Luige, spokesman for the Police and Border Guard, said that the proposed border guard joint exercise would have taken place in the period from March to June, and according to the description of the exercise, it would have consisted mainly of the exchange of information. 

"It is worth noting that Russia is using as the name of the border guard exercise the name of major military exercise Zapad, which raises serious questions about the contents and objectives of the exercise, including propaganda purposes. Given the above, as well as the overall security situation change and the behavior of the Russian Federation in connection to Ukraine, we do not consider it possible to participate in the border guard joint training exercise Zapad 2014, carried out by the Russian Federation," Pevkur explained. 

The word "zapad" means "west" in Russian, and has been given to large-scale military exercises carried out both by the Russian Federation and the Soviet Union.