Baltic states, Poland, Finland, and Norway to create ‘unmanned wall’ for border security – LRT

Agne Bilotaite
Agne Bilotaite

The Baltic states, Poland, Finland, and Norway have agreed to establish an "unmanned wall" to protect their external borders, Lithuanian news outlet LRT reported on May 24, citing the country’s Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite.

“This is a completely new thing - an unmanned wall from Norway to Poland, which will use drones and other technologies to protect our borders,” she said after a meeting in Latvia with colleagues from the participating countries.

“Not only with the help of physical infrastructure, surveillance systems, but also with the help of drones and other technologies that would allow us to protect ourselves from provocations by unfriendly countries and prevent smuggling.”

The plan includes the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor border areas and anti-drone systems to counter drones from hostile countries used for smuggling and provocation.

“These are drones that allow us to control the situation from above and see much further than our surveillance systems show. But another part of the technology was also presented to protect our countries, our borders from drones used by other countries to spy on our information, to carry out provocations, to organize smuggling.”

Lithuania has already taken steps in this direction by establishing a UAV unit within its State Border Guard Service and procuring additional drones and anti-drone systems.

“As a country, we have done a lot in this direction. (...) Other countries may have to invest more, prepare more,” Bilotaite said, adding that the countries will need to assess their individual “homework” and work closely with experts to develop a comprehensive plan.

“Today we have agreed on this idea, the next step is a plan, concrete actions. (...) There is no timeframe yet when we will sit down at the technical level of the institutions, we will work when it is realistic.”

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She also mentioned the possibility of securing funding from the European Union by applying together as a region.

"Of course, if we agree on common solutions, we could apply for European funds, if we apply as a region, there is a high probability that we will get funding from the European Commission (...) If it is organized, it is much more profitable, because if you participate in the negotiations as a region, you can get a better deal".

On May 21, The Moscow Times reported, citing a draft resolution of the Russian government, that the Defense Ministry had proposed expanding Russia's territorial waters in the Baltic Sea, near the borders of Lithuania and Finland.

Russian officials said that the coordinates, which were established in 1985, allegedly "do not fully correspond to the current geographical situation."

The following day, May 22, the draft resolution was removed from the Defense Ministry’s website.

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