Russian Proposal to Revise Baltic Maritime Border Sparks Concern Among NATO Nations

A Russian defence ministry draft proposal to revise its maritime border in the eastern Baltic Sea has caused confusion among NATO members Finland, Sweden, Lithuania, and Estonia. The proposal, based on outdated Soviet-era charts, is seen by neighboring countries as a potential security escalation.

Reuters | Updated: 22-05-2024 16:24 IST | Created: 22-05-2024 16:24 IST
Russian Proposal to Revise Baltic Maritime Border Sparks Concern Among NATO Nations

A Russian defence ministry proposal to revise Russia's maritime border in the eastern Baltic Sea created confusion and concern on Wednesday in NATO members Finland, Sweden, Lithuania and Estonia. A draft decree from the defence ministry dated May 21, published on an official Russian portal, proposed adjusting the border around Russian islands in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland and around Kaliningrad.

Russia's three main news agencies later quoted an unidentified Russian source as saying Russia had no plans to change the border. The Kremlin said there was nothing political in the defence ministry proposal, but that Russia had to ensure its security.

In its official submission, the defence ministry said that a Soviet measurement of the border from 1985 had used mid-20th century nautical charts, and so did not fully correspond to more modern cartographical coordinates. "There is nothing political here, although the political situation has changed significantly since then (1985)," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"You can see the level of confrontation, especially in the Baltic region." He suggested approaching the defence ministry, which did not respond to a request for comment.

It was not immediately clear from the draft decree exactly how the border would be adjusted and whether there had been any consultation with other states adjoining the Baltic Sea. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told the TT news agency: "Russia can't unilaterally decide on new borders,"

Finnish President Alexander Stubb said Russia had not been in touch, adding: "Finland acts as always: calmly and based on facts." Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called the proposal an "obvious escalation" against the U.S.-led NATO military alliance and the European Union. He said it "must be met with an appropriately firm response".

Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna said: "At first glance, it seems to be an absurd notion." In an emailed comment to Reuters, he added: "It cannot be ruled out that the report is an attempt to sow confusion."

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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