As the migrant situation in neighboring Belarus worsens, the Estonian government summoned 1,700 reserve soldiers on Wednesday for an unannounced exercise that will include the installation of a razor wire fence along 40 kilometers of its border with Russia.
In retaliation for penalties previously imposed on Minsk, the EU has accused Belarus of bringing in thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa and forcing them to cross into EU and NATO allies Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. Belarus has denied causing the issue on purpose.
Belarus’s EU neighbors, which is a strong Russian ally, have declared states of emergency and deployed armed personnel along their borders, warning that the crisis might lead to a military clash.
Estonia, like Lithuania and Latvia, has a similar geopolitical background, however it does not share a border with Belarus.
The drill, which is planned to last until November 25, was called to test the national chain of command’s swift response, according to the Estonian government.
The reserve solders will assist in the installation of 40 kilometers of razor wire along the Russian border, where the dangers of unlawful crossings are greatest, according to a statement issued by Estonian police and border guard.
“What is happening in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia also requires the strengthening of the border infrastructure in Estonia,” said chief of Police and Border Guard Elmar Vaher.